Nicolo Bulega’s (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) potential Championship winning Tissot Aragon Round got off the perfect start as he topped both Friday sessions to lead the FIM Supersport World Championship field on Friday. The Ducati star was almost two tenths clear of his rivals after two Free Practice sessions at MotorLand Aragon, while title rival Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) was third and around three tenths back from Bulega.
CLOSING IN ON LAP RECORD PACE: Bulega goes top, Manzi a few tenths away
At the track where he could be crowned World Champion on Sunday, Bulega started his weekend seemingly without any potential pressure impacting him. He was fastest by almost four tenths in Free Practice 1 ahead of Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki), before showing his hand once again in Free Practice 2, although the gap did close. Bulega’s best time was a 1’53.671s, almost matching the race lap record set in 2022 by Dominique Aegerter, as he finished 0.187s ahead of Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing Team) in second in the afternoon. The #64 bounced back from an FP1 crash at Turn 1 to set a 1’53.858s. Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) had been second and directly behind his title rival in FP2 but was overhauled by ‘Carica’ in the final 10 minutes of Friday’s running as he claimed third, 0.295s down on his title rival.
A GOOD WAY TO START: Navarro impresses as he closes the gap to his teammate
It was a strong Friday for Jorge Navarro (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) as he took P4 on home soil. At one point, he had been ahead of teammate Manzi before the #62 struck back in the closing stages for a top-three spot with around a tenth and a half separating the two teammates. Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki) was the top rider whose time did not improve in FP2 and one of only three in total. Ducati-bound for next season, Huertas’ best time was a 1’54.419s for P5 in the combined classification and he finished seventh in FP2. German rookie Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) took sixth after posting a 1’54.501s.
A DIFFICULT DAY: riders in the top ten crash…
Niki Tuuli (PTR Triumph) was one of several late crashers in FP2 after he went down at Turn 9 right at the end of the session, but he was still able to take seventh after posting a 1’54.506s. Valentin Debise (GMT94 Yamaha) was another who crashed, but he was able to finish in the top ten with eighth and just 0.167s behind Tuuli. Debise’s crash was at the Turn 14-15 chicane. Turkish star Bahattin Sofuoglu (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) was ninth and just a couple of tenths away from his teammate, while Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) was tenth despite two FP1 crashes. He came down at Turn 1 and Turn 10 in the morning session but responded in the afternoon with a 1’54.878s.
HOUSEKEEPING: to note from a challenging Friday
Wildcard Julian Giral (Ducati Zaragoza) took 17th place, but his day came to an early end when he crashed at Turn 3 in FP2, with the Spaniard taken to the medical centre for a check-up following the crash. Tom Edwards (Yart – Yamaha WorldSSP Team) and compatriot Luke Power (Motozoo ME AIR Racing) both went down at Turn 2, albeit in different sessions: Edwards had his accident in FP1 while Power crashed in FP2. Leonardo Taccini’s (Vince64 by Puccetti Racing) return to WorldSSP didn’t go as he’d hoped as he took 31st in the standings after an FP1 crash at Turn 7.
The top six from WorldSSP on Friday, full results here:
1. Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) 1’53.671s
2. Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing Team) +0.187s
3. Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) +0.295s
4. Jorge Navarro (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) +0.466s
5. Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki) +0.748s
6. Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) +0.830s
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