Brilliant Bulega a second clear in wet FP3, Bassani impresses in third with Toprak P8

Saturday, 20 April 2024 07:41 GMT

Nicolo Bulega was impressive in the wet conditions as times improved rapidly towards the end of FP3

More rain greeted the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship field at the TT Circuit Assen for Free Practice 3 and it was Nicolo Bulega ( Racing - Ducati) who mastered the conditions to finish a second clear of his rivals. After Friday’s mixed conditions, everyone wanted to be on track with a fully wet circuit and ensure they were prepared for all potential conditions for the Tissot Superpole session and racing at the Pirelli Dutch Round.

With the track fully wet when the green flags waved, there was a rush to get out on track in conditions which appeared to be more consistent compared to yesterday’s mixed bag. Times were in the 1’53s bracket in the first laps, until Nicolo Bulega ( Racing - Ducati) posted a 1’52.523s to go 0.755s quicker than compatriot Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) in second. However, as riders adjusted to the conditions, everyone was able to find time.

More than eight seconds were found between the start and end of the 20-minute session, which in the end was topped by Nicolo Bulega ( Racing - Ducati) as he ended the session with a 1’44.274s, finishing over a second clear of Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in second after he posted a 1’45.749s, with teammate Axel Bassani in third after a strong session in the wet on his ZX-10RR.

Home hero Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) had a great session as he took fourth place and finished as the lead BMW rider, with reigning Champion Alvaro Bautista ( Racing - Ducati) claiming fifth place but almost two seconds down on his teammate. Britain’s Sam Lowes (ELF Marc VDS Racing Team) completed the top six as he took advantage of perhaps some familiar conditions to run in the top positions.

Independent Ducati rider Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team Motocorsa Racing) is having a good weekend and that continued with seventh in FP3, finishing a tenth ahead of Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) in eighth who found gains in latter stages of the 20-minute session. Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) led at times throughout FP3 but was demoted to ninth as the session concluded, while Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) completed the top ten.

There were two crashes in the session. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) had a lowside crash at the high-speed Turn 12, but he was able to re-mount his bike and return it to the pits. After work on it by the mechanics, he returned to the track and finished P15. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) had a crash at Turn 16 right at the end of the session, with the #7 taken to the medical centre for a check-up following his crash.

The top six from WorldSBK FP3, full results here:

1. Nicolo Bulega ( Racing - Ducati) 1’44.660s

2. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +1.089s

3. Axel Bassani (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +1.713s

4. Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +1.731s

5. Álvaro Bautista ( Racing - Ducati) +1.810s

6. Sam Lowes (ELF Marc VDS Racing Team) +1.863s

Next up, Superpole! Don’t miss out on the action at 11:00 Local Time (UTC+2) using the WorldSBK VideoPass!