Bulega smashes lap record for Aragon pole position, Manzi only P5 in red-flagged Superpole

Saturday, 23 September 2023 09:12 GMT

The #11 was unbeatable on Saturday morning as he claimed his eighth pole of the season by a huge margin over his rivals

Nicolo Bulega ( Racing WorldSSP Team) was untouchable in Tissot Superpole for the FIM Supersport World Championship in a disrupted session. The Ducati star, whose first chance to win the title can be on Sunday, was almost three quarters of a second clear of his rivals at MotorLand Aragon while title rival Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) could only manage fifth as the grid was set for the Tissot Aragon Round.

THE FIRST STINT: red flag halts proceedings, yellow flags disrupt Manzi

Bulega’s first lap was a 1’52.801s to move to the top of the timesheets immediately by more than seven tenths ahead of Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha), although the #62's time was deleted due to yellow flags being shown at Turn 7. It left Bulega 0.869s ahead of Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team) in second and Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki) in third before the red flags were shown with around 13 minutes left. Ondrej Vostatek (PTR Triumph) had a technical issue at Turn 3 on his Triumph machine with the red flags brought out due to track conditions. With Manzi losing his lap time following Maiki Abe’s (VFT Racing WEBIKE Yamaha) crash at Turn 7 on his out lap, the Italian did not record a lap time before the session was temporarily stopped.

SETTING THE GRID: Bulega breaks lap record

Manzi set a 1’53.126s to briefly take second on his first lap after the red flag but he lost that time for exceeding track limits at Turn 10 before posting a 1’53.337s to move into third behind Bulega and Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing Team). Ducati’s Bulega posted a 1’52.482s to reiterate his pace and break the all-time lap record by 0.224s before finding another tenth to lead Montella by 0.724s ahead of their final laps. The #11 made an error on his penultimate lap which meant he didn’t improve then, nor on his final lap, but he took his eighth pole of the season, with Montella in second and Caricasulo making it an all-Italian front row.

CAN MANZI MOVE FORWARD? Taking fifth in Superpole…

German rookie Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) posted a 1’53.220s to take fourth in Superpole despite a late crash in sector three. However, the #23 will line-up from seventh on the grid for Race 1 after being given a three-place grid penalty for slow riding on the racing line in FP2. Manzi finishing in fifth, more than a second down on Bulega, with Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) lining up alongside him on the second row.

ROUNDING OUT THE TOP TEN: Spaniards strong on home soil

Despite his strong early start, Huertas dropped to seventh but missed out on sixth by just 0.006s to take a third row start in Race 2; he will be promoted to the second row for Race 1 due to Schroetter’s penalty. Jorge Navarro (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) had a strong Friday and he carried that on with eighth in Superpole, ahead of Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team) and Bahattin Sofuoglu (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) who rounded out the top ten.

HOUSEKEEPING: Diaz impresses, Booth-Amos fastest Challenge rider

Tom Booth-Amos (Motozoo ME AIR Racing) can win the WorldSSP Challenge title this weekend and he put himself in prime position by being the fastest Challenge rider. He will start from 13th on the grid. Reigning WorldSSP300 Champion Alvaro Diaz (Arco Yart Yamaha WorldSSP) has shown rapid pace throughout the Aragon Round, and he will line-up from 16th, just behind debutant Hector Garzo (Yamaha Thailand Racing Team).

The top six from WorldSSP Superpole, full results here:

1. Nicolo Bulega ( Racing WorldSSP Team) 1’52.306s

2. Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team) +0.724s

3. Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing Team) +0.864s

4. Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) +0.914s

5. Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) +1.031s

6. Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) +1.057s

Don’t miss Race 1 at 15:15 Local Time (GMT+2) using the WorldSBK VideoPass – now only €9.99!