Nicolo Bulega: ‘Maybe I still don’t realise, I was smiling a lot’

The opening WorldSBK round of the year saw Nicolo Bulega become the first-ever WorldSSP champion to win on his premier class debut.

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

Following a dominant showing in Superpole, Nicolo Bulega delivered another clutch performance to take victory in Race 1 of the WorldSBK season-opener at Phillip Island.

Bulega’s start was the only hiccup as he went from first to fifth during the early stages, however, an unrivalled turn of speed prior to the pit stop sequence saw him take the lead. 

Fellow WorldSBK rookie Andrea Iannone was the only rider capable of following Bulega initially.

But when the pit stops took place, Bulega came out with a sizable lead which he controlled until the end of the race.

Bulega was unable to deliver the same type of result during either Sunday race, however, his stunning achievement is one that won’t go unnoticed by his rivals.

A clear title contender despite being a rookie, Bulega admitted post-race he was still in shock as to what he achieved.

“Maybe I still don’t realise but what can I say? It’s incredible,” said Bulega. “To win the first race and also take the lap record and pole position, it’s like last year when I was in WorldSSP but now, it’s in WorldSBK.

“I can’t say a lot because I still don’t realise, it’s a good sensation. In the last two laps, I was smiling a lot under my helmet when I saw my pit board with 3.5s advantage.

“You can dream as much as you want but when you have to do it, it’s different.

“It’s a dream come true and I’m happy to win the first race as I feel less pressure.”

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