Nicolo Bulega calls debut WorldSBK win ‘maybe the best day of my life’

Nicolo Bulega took a sensational first WorldSBK win after dominating the opening race of the year at Phillip Island.

Nicolo Bulega, Race 1, Australian WorldSBK, 24 February
Nicolo Bulega, Race 1, Australian WorldSBK, 24 February

After setting a new lap record in qualifying to secure his maiden WorldSBK pole, Nicolo Bulega proved to be just as formidable in Race 1 of the Australian round.

The Italian had better pace than anyone, while his mandatory pit stop also went swimmingly.

Bulega’s race start was the only hiccup as he dropped from first to fifth, but a quick recovery saw him overtake reigning world champion team-mate Alvaro Bautista, before a move on Toprak Razgatlioglu at turn ten [lap four].

Speaking post-race, Bulega said: “It’s maybe the best day of my life. Difficult to believe it but it’s something incredible. I have been dreaming about this moment and now it is a reality.

“I did the pole position, victory in my first race and a new lap record. It is something I will never forget.

“I started to cry a little bit and then it was just a good emotion because I saw all my guys on the finish line with incredible smiles.”

Before taking the lead Bulega admitted he was happy to stay in the pack until his pace became ‘much faster’.

Once Bulega took the lead, only Andrea Iannone and Alex Lowes were able to keep the factory Ducati rider in check.

But that didn’t remain the case for the entire race and Bulega said applying pressure early on was key.

“I started really badly,” began Bulega. “I did not release the clutch perfectly but then the first laps I was fourth or fifth, but I stayed in the back and felt faster.

“I thought they weren’t going too fast to save the tyres so I stayed there.

“But then I was much faster than them. I had to go to the front to do my pace. I think it was the key.”

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