Bulega obliterates Donington lap record to claim pole, title rival Manzi third

Saturday, 1 July 2023 10:14 GMT

The Championship leader put in several laps that beat the existing lap record as he claimed his fifth consecutive pole position

Nicolo Bulega ( Racing WorldSSP Team) claimed a stunning pole position as he smashed the FIM Supersport World Championship lap record at Donington Park after lapping two tenths quicker than his nearest rival. He will be joined on the front row by title rival by Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) as he took third to set up both races at the Prosecco DOC UK Round in perfect fashion, with Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team) sandwiched between the duo on the front row.

RECORD BREAKING FRONT ROW: the lap record is annihilated

Bulega put in a couple of lap times that went under the existing lap record, a 1’29.925s held by Kenan Sofuoglu from 2015. His first was a 1’29.872s before he set a 1’29.323s on his first flying lap in his second run to go a huge six tenths under Sofuoglu’s lap time. Montella continued his strong Donington form to take second place as he lapped 0.209s slower than the Championship leader, although he did lose time towards the end of the session when he ran wide at Turn 1 and into the gravel. Championship contender Manzi will line up from the front row for the first time since the Australian Round as he secured third; all three riders were under the existing lap record and were separated by half-a-second. Bulega is on a streak of five consecutive pole positions, the third longest in the Championship’s history; the longest is seven, held by Sam Lowes.

A MIXED-UP ROW TWO: Mahias impresses again, Tuuli looking for Triumph glory

French rider Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) consistently moved up the order during the 20-minute session as he took fourth, demoting Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki) with his last lap in the session. Huertas’ fifth place meant he claimed his first top-five starting position since Barcelona in 2022 and he will start ahead of Niki Tuuli (Dynavolt Triumph) after the Finn took sixth. Tuuli will be looking to give British manufacturer Triumph more to cheer about as he goes in search of their first win in the UK.

JUST OVER A TENTH IN IT: not much to separate P6 and P10…

Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team) was consistently in the top ten throughout Superpole and he posted a 1’30.405s to lead away the third row. It was a tightly-packed field on Saturday with Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing Team) one place behind but less than a tenth away from van Straalen. Rookie Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) had been outside the top ten for the majority of Superpole but several late laps moved him into the top ten; he will start ninth with Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) completing the top ten.

HOUSEKEEPING: disappointment for Booth-Amos after a promising Friday

After showing so much promise on Friday, Tom Booth-Amos (Motozoo ME AIR Racing) will start from 13th after his session was disrupted by a fall. He crashed at Turn 10 after losing the front of his bike. He re-joined and took his bike to the pits but he was unable to set another representative lap time when he took to the track after repairs had been completed. He will start alongside Bahattin Sofuoglu (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) after the Turk was given the all-clear to compete in Superpole; following his evaluation this morning, no signs of concussion were detected. He was reassessed after Superpole and declared fit.

John McPhee (Vince64 by Puccetti Racing) was unable to set a lap time after he came down at Coppice on his first flying lap. Oli Bayliss (D34G Racing) had been showing strong pace throughout the weekend but his Superpole came to an end after a highside on the exit of Turn 12. He was taken to the medical centre for a check-up following the crash and declared unfit with a left shoulder contusion.

The top six following WorldSSP Tissot Superpole, full results here:

1. Nicolo Bulega ( Racing WorldSSP Team) 1’29.323s
2. Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team) +0.209s
3. Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) +0.559s

4. Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) +0.799s

5. Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki) +0.802s
6. Niki Tuuli (Dynavolt Triumph) +0.889s

Don’t miss WorldSSP Race 1 from 15:15 Local Time (GMT+1) using the WorldSBK VideoPass!