Bulega: “I’ll be suffering because Alvaro will be fast all the time”

Nicolo Bulega has arguably the toughest challenge on his hands this season, which is contending with two-time WorldSBK champion Alvaro Bautista as his team-mate.
Alvaro Bautista and Nicolo Bulega, Ducati WorldSBK 2024
Alvaro Bautista and Nicolo Bulega, Ducati WorldSBK 2024

Bulega, who was a one-man band with Aruba.it Ducati in WorldSSP last season, now has Bautista as his team-mate as he gets set for his rookie WorldSBK campaign.

Bautista won a stunning 27 races out of 37 in 2023, making it the most dominant season ever by a rider.

And Bulega now has the challenge of trying to not only match his team-mate, but at times beat the Spaniard.

Of course, that won’t be expected of him early on, but as his experience grows and he becomes more comfortable with Superbike machinery, Bulega will have pressure to perform, as Michael Ruben Rinaldi found out last year.

Part of Ducati’s official launch alongside Bautista and its MotoGP team, Bulega said: “Being here with these beautiful bikes is just amazing. Being here with incredible teammates is wonderful. 

“This is a beautiful experience, seeing it from inside and outside. Last year, when I was called to join this presentation, I was extremely happy. I’m enjoying it and I’ll do my best. 

“Having Alvaro with me in the team will be tough because he’s such a good racer. I’ll be suffering because Alvaro will be fast all the time, throughout the season. 

“It’ll be my first year as an official rider, so I will have to learn so many things. Having Alvaro as a teammate will be paramount, will be crucial, for me. 

“I’ll try to copy and paste, steal some secrets from him, to be faster. It’s an amazing motorcycle. 

“In my opinion, this new livery is amazing. Last year, it was already beautiful, but this is even better.”

Bulega, who was chosen as the replacement for Rinaldi, a five-time race winner in WorldSBK, was ‘not a bet’ said team principal Stefano Cecconi.

Discussing Bulega and the reason for signing him, Cecconi added: “Nicolo was not a bet or a challenge because we relied on him for the WorldSSP project. 

“We were aware we’d found a magical combination because he’s very young, but he has a lot of experience. 

“We needed someone like him, and he proved to be great during the first year. During the second year, when we reached our goal."

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