WSB: Nicolo Bulega breaks lap record to top Jerez Test

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World Superbike Championship newcomer Nicolo Bulega has put the paddock on notice after topping the two-day Jere with lap record pace.

The Racing Ducati rider posted a best lap-time of 1:37.809 early in the day, destroying the existing lap record of 1:38.247 set by Jonathan Rea in 2019. Bulega was the only rider across the two days to drop into the 1:37s.

“I am happy because we took another step forward, even compared to yesterday, and the feeling has grown steadily,” Bulega said. “We worked well on the time attack and that means I was also able to improve on the qualifying tires. I think it was an important test and now we go to Portimao to continue on this path.

“Today’s lap time? It doesn’t change anything: I remain a rookie and my objectives are different to the top riders.”

Toprak Razgatlioglu was fourth onboard the BMW M1000RR

Rea ended the test in second spot onboard the Pata Prometeon Yamaha R1, albeit 0.536s behind the time set by Bulega. Rea’s best lap-time of 1:38.345s was only a tenth away from his own lap record (set in 2019).

Scott Redding was the leading BMW rider in third onboard the Bonovo Action M1000 RR. The 2019 Bennetts British Superbike Champion posted a late 1:38.572 to demote Toprak Razgatlioglu to fourth. Redding completed 77 laps today, with Toprak adding 78 to his Jerez total.

Former MotoGP rider Andrea Iannone completed the top five on the Team GoEleven Ducati. The Italian completed 61 laps but did suffer a crash in the first sector in the afternoon. Garrett Gerloff made it three BMW riders inside the top six on the second of the Bonovo Action bikes.

Sam Lowes was seventh as he continues to adapt to a Superbike after spending 10 years in a Moto2 bike. The Marc VDS Ducati rider completed 91 laps onboard the V4 R.

Sam Lowes was seventh onboard the Marc VDS Ducati in Jerez

“I’m really happy with how the test finished,” Lowes said. “I improved a lot compared to the first day and I felt a lot better on the bike. That’s a normal evolution as I get more used to the Ducati and know what I need to be fast. The team has done an amazing job in helping me understand more how to ride a superbike and I’m starting to feel like this is my bike.

“I did a lot of good laps on my own and today was the first time I tried the super soft Pirelli tyre. My time was fast, but I only used one tyre, so I’m sure I could go even faster again. We must be happy with the job we’ve done, and I know there is a plenty more to come as we do more laps and get more comfortable with the Ducati. We did a lot of laps in Jerez, and I feel pretty tired now, but I can’t thank the team enough for all their hard work.

“We tried a lot of different set-ups to help us get very important information and now I’m looking forward to going to Portimao next week to understand the bike on a completely different track. This test was full of positives and gives me a big boost heading to Portugal.”

Remy Gardner, Danilo Petrucci and Andrea Locatelli completed the top 10, with reigning two-time champion Alvaro Bautista down in 16th.

Andrea Iannone in action at the Jerez Test

The Spaniard has been struggling in Spain with his shoulder following the injury sustained towards the end of last year, and was testing the bike in its 2024 configuration; with extra kilos of ballast added to comply with the new regulations.

Bautista competed 149 laps across the two days, and did not attempt a flying lap with a qualifying tyre.

“I am satisfied because on day 1, due to some pain, I didn’t get the best feeling; today things went better and this is undoubtedly a good sign,” Bautista said. “I can say that my condition has even improved. We worked a lot on the set-up, especially in light of the new regulations, and we got some important indications.

“We haven’t tried a time attack but that wasn’t the priority of this testing. I am looking forward to being at Portimao to continue on this path and to get further feedback on my condition.”

Alex Lowes was the leading Kawasaki rider in 11th, completing 82 laps after overcoming illness. The Brit only competed 31 laps on the opening day.

Elsewhere, it was another tough day for Honda and the new Fireblade. Xavi Vierge was the leading HRC racer in 16th after posting a best lap-time of 1:39.915, with Iker Lecuona down in 19th after failing to make it out of the 1:40s.

The next pre-season test takes place at Portimao on January 29-30.