Championship leader Nicolo Bulega led both Friday sessions in the Czech Republic, while Adrian Huertas continued to show impressive speed
Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it WorldSSP Racing Team) was the rider to beat on Friday in the FIM Supersport World Championship, but his rivals kept the pressure on him at the Autodrom Most, with title challenge Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) seventh after losing a quicker lap time after it was set under yellow flags. Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki) was once again shining brightly as took second place on Day 1 of the Acerbis Czech Round.
ADVANTAGE BULEGA ON FRIDAY: Championship leader on top, Manzi loses lap
Bulega topped Free Practice 1 in the morning and improved his lap time in FP2 as he edged closer to – but didn’t quite match or beat – the race lap record at Most. His best lap time was a 1’35.264s as he secured top spot with the Italian looking to prevent title rival Manzi from building up more momentum after his Imola double. Manzi dropped down the order in the final few minutes before he set a 1’35.452s and provisionally moved to P2 and only 0.186s behind Bulega. Manzi’s time, however, was deleted as he set it under yellow flags after a Turn 20 crash for Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team); his best official time, a 1’35.669s, good enough for P7. Manzi losing his best time promoted Huertas back into second place after posting a 1’35.483s and Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing Team) into third.
A SHAKE UP IN THE ORDER? riders impress at the sharp end
Jorge Navarro (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) was the lead Yamaha rider on Friday as he took P4, comfortable enjoying one of his best days of his rookie campaign. He lapped around three tenths off Bulega’s best time and was 0.060s ahead of Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura). The Italian surged up the order after setting a 1’35.629s with just a few minutes left in the 45-minute session. It was also a good day for Valentin Debise (GMT94 Yamaha) as he secured a spot in the top six after posting a 1’35.656.
FIVE MANUFACTURERS IN THE TOP TEN: a competitive weekend in store
Manzi took P7 and was around four tenths off Bulega’s time but will know there’s more to come after a faster lap time was deleted, while two Triumphs and an MV Agusta ensured five of the six manufacturers in WorldSSP were in the top ten. Niki Tuuli (TPR Triumph) led teammate Ondrej Vostatek after the Czech rider showed impressive speed on his return to the Championship. He was 0.024s ahead of Bahattin Sofuoglu (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) with the Barcelona Race 1 winner completing the top ten. His teammate, Marcel Schroetter, was directly behind in 11th.
HOUSEKEEPING: a red-flagged FP2 session
The session was red flagged with just over 20 minutes to go for safety conditions shortly after a crash for French rider Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) at Turn 13. The Frenchman was taken to the medical centre for a check-up following the incident, where he was declared fit with a left leg and ankle contusion. There were a couple of other crashes in FP2. Yuta Okaya (ProDina Kawasaki Racing) went down at Turn 20 and completed only six laps, with the Japanese rookie classified in 29th. Tom Edward (Yart – Yamaha WorldSSP Team) went down at Turn 15 and he was 16th in the standings.
The top six from WorldSSP Friday action, full results here:
1. Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) 1’35.266s
2. Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki) +0.217s
3. Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing Team) +0.251s
4. Jorge Navarro (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) +0.303s
5. Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) +0.363s
6. Valentin Debise (GMT94 Yamaha) +0.390s
Don’t miss WorldSSP’s Tissot Superpole session on Saturday at 10:25 Local Time (GMT+2) using the WorldSBK VideoPass!