TWO FROM TWO: Bulega withstands Debise’s challenge as he secures hard-fought Race 2 win

Sunday, 10 September 2023 11:37 GMT

The #11 added to his Championship lead by taking advantage of Manzi finishing third to close in further on a first world title

Nicolo Bulega ( Racing WorldSSP Team) extended his FIM Supersport World Championship lead to 60 points after taking a hard-fought Race 2 win at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours by resisting home hero Valentin Debise’s (GMT94 Yamaha) race-long pressure. With Bulega’s title rival, Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha), third during the Pirelli French Round, the #11 heads into the upcoming Aragon Round with a clear advantage over Manzi.

BULEGA VS DEBISE… AGAIN: Championship leader resists Debise, holds on for victory

Championship leader Bulega got away well as the lights went out and initially looked to pull out a gap on his rivals, but a series of incredibly fast lap times – including two new race lap records of 1’40.533s and 1’40.520s – from Debise allowed him to hang on to the Italian’s tail. Bulega was able to stabilise the gap to around three tenths as the race reached halfway point of the race as he resisted the #94’s pressure during the first nine laps.

On Lap 12, Bulega lapped three tenths quicker than his rival to open the gap to almost seven tenths between the duo as he ended Debise’s dreams of a famous home victory. Despite Bulega creating some distance between them, the Frenchman was able to stay within a second of the Championship leader before the gap closed again. On Lap 14, the gap extended out to around nine tenths again with Bulega holding on for his 11th win of the season and his fourth double of the season.

With the duo’s relentless pace, they had a 12-second margin ahead of Manzi as the #62 lost nine points to Bulega in the title rival. The Italian was unable to repeat his Race 1 form and close in on Bulega in the latter stages as he took third behind Debise. It was the Frenchman’s second podium after his maiden one in Race 1, while for Manzi it was his 17th podium and his 12th in WorldSSP.

FIGHT UNTIL THE LINE: big fight for the high-scoring places

Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) claimed fourth after a race-long battle with Niki Tuuli (PTR Triumph), with the German rookie passing Tuuli on Lap 16 of 19 at Turn 5. The pair had been fighting for fifth initially, but a technical issue for Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) promoted them as he retired on Lap 12. Both Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) and Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki) were involved in that battle as they finished around half-a-second down on Tuuli, with Huertas overcoming a Long Lap Penalty for irresponsible riding in Warm Up.

INSIDE THE TOP TEN: strong start but falling back

Italian rider Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team) had a superb start to the race as he immediately moved into the top three, but the #55 often ran wide at Turn 5 which cost him time and, eventually, positions as he dropped down to eighth. He was a second clear of Jorge Navarro (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) in ninth while Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing Team) rounded out the top ten. He was less than a second away from Navarro ahead of him.

RETURNING IN STYLE: Oncu back in the points

Wildcard Johan Gimbert ensured both GMT94 Yamaha riders took points in Race 2 as he finished in 11th, nine seconds away from the top ten, while he was four seconds clear of Simon Jespersen (VFT Racing WEBIKE Yamaha) in 12th. The Dane, replacing Nicholas Spinelli who is on MotoE™ duty this weekend, scored points on his return to the Championship while Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team) was 13th. Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) returned to WorldSSP and returned to the points as he claimed 14th, with Andy Verdoia (Yamaha Thailand Racing Team) the last points scorer.

HOUSEKEEPING: penalties, crashes and retirements

Anupab Sarmoon (Yamaha Thailand Racing Team) was 22nd after being given a six-second penalty, in lieu of a double Long Lap Penalty. The Thai rider was given a Long Lap Penalty for shortcutting Turn 6 and not losing sufficient time, before he was given a second one for not taking this. However, the FIM Stewards gave him a time penalty after the race ended.

Federico Fuligni (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) retired from the race after a Lap 4 crash with Yuta Okaya (ProDina Kawasaki Racing), with the Japanese rookie able to re-join and continue Race 2. The incident was placed under investigation by the FIM Stewards with Okaya given a Long Lap Penalty for irresponsible riding, before the #16 was given an additional one for not taking the first. Fuligni was taken to the medical centre for a check-up following the crash. Tom Booth-Amos (Motozoo ME AIR Racing) brought his bike into the pits with a technical issue just after the halfway mark of the race, while Maximilian Kofler (D34G Racing) retired a few laps later. Turkish star Bahattin Sofuoglu (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) was running in the points when he crashed at Turn 13 on Lap 16 which forced him out of the race.

The top six from WorldSSP Race 2, full results here:

1. Nicolo Bulega ( Racing WorldSSP Team)

2. Valentin Debise (GMT94 Yamaha) +1.991s

3. Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) +12.441s

4. Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) +15.582s

5. Niki Tuuli (PTR Triumph) +17.009s

6. Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Evan Bros. Yamaha WorldSSP Team) +17.401s

Fastest lap: Valentin Debise, Yamaha – 1’40.520s (New Lap Record)

Championship standings

1. Nicolo Bulega ( Racing WorldSSP team) 358 points

2. Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) 298

3. Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) 236

4. Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing Team) 181

5. Bahattin Sofuoglu (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) 136

6. Valentin Debise (GMT94 Yamaha) 134

Next up, Aragon! Watch every moment from MotorLand Aragon using the WorldSBK VideoPass!