Nicolo Bulega admits ‘we made a mistake’ after tumbling down the order

Nicolo Bulega marginally retained the WorldSBK series lead after a disappointing Race 1 at Assen.

Nicolo Bulega, Dutch WorldSBK, 19 April
Nicolo Bulega, Dutch WorldSBK, 19 April

Nicolo Bulega was unable to recover from a late tyre call which left the Italian in difficulty during Race 1 of the Dutch WorldSBK round at Assen.

The series leader has seen his gap reduce to just one point over the formidable duo of Alvaro Bautista and Toprak Razgatlioglu.

Prior to the race getting started heavy rain fell which had also been the case before FP3 and Superpole.

And although he made the same tyre call as the majority of the grid, Bulega, who started from second on the grid, claimed the decision to run slick tyres was too late as he rode the entire race with a wet setting on the bike.

Bulega said: “Unfortunately we made a mistake. We decided too late to put on the slick tyre and I rode with the wet setting in dry conditions.

“It was a bit difficult to manage the situation. Also, the first laps I was a bit scared to understand the bike because it was my first time in this situation.

“It was a bit difficult. But we have to forget today and we will try again tomorrow.”

Another Ducati rider who made the same tyre call as Bulega was Sam Lowes, who started from P4.

However, the Superbike rookie saw his chances of a good result end on lap one after pitting for intermediate tyres.

Sam Lowes, Dutch WorldSBK, 19 April
Sam Lowes, Dutch WorldSBK, 19 April

“Sorry to the team because we probably made the correct call with the tyres, but the choice was a bit of a lottery,” said Lowes. 

“I was really happy to qualify fourth and be in the mix but on the first lap the first sector was pretty wet and I saw the rain coming down.

“Then I lost the rear in Turn 7 which knocked my confidence a bit so I came in to change tyres. It was the first lap so the timing was difficult and then we unfortunately had the wrong tyre after that.

“It was frustrating for everybody. I didn’t have what I needed to keep going in the first laps. That’s not on anyone else but me. 

“But it was a very complicated situation in complicated conditions. I’ll learn from that tonight and see what the track’s like tomorrow. It was still a positive day in a lot of ways. 

“I just need a bit more confidence and understanding of the tyres to really be in a better situation.

“It was my mistake to come in and pit early but it was one of those moments that would have looked great if it paid off. We’ll try to make a better call tomorrow.”

Read More