Nicolo Bulega: Rear tyre ‘completely finished’ in Superpole Race, ‘Alvaro really fast’

Nicolo Bulega loses out on Superpole victory in Assen after destroying the rear tyre.

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

Extremely fast during the opening stages of the Superpole Race, WorldSBK rookie Nicolo Bulega was a victim of the same pace advantage for Alvaro Bautista late on.

Bulega created a three second gap but in doing so destroyed his rear tyre, leaving Bautista, who was blitzing the rest of the field to catch and pass him for the win.

Unable to get a good idea of what direction they needed to go in for the first full dry session for the weekend, Bulega admitted these sorts of ‘highs and lows’ are to be expected.

Bulega said: “It was a very difficult weekend because the weather was changing all the time. It was my first time here with this bike. 

“It was a bit difficult because I would have to understand and prepare better in dry conditions.

“But we were not able to work a lot on the bike but it was all experience. I’m in my first year so it is normal to have some highs and lows.

“It is experience and we will try to work and come back with my feeling at 100%.”

Asked why his pace dropped off compared to Bautista, Bulega responded: “I finished the tyre. The rear tyre was completely finished.

“It was my first full dry session because of the conditions all weekend. I pushed at 100% but Alvaro at the end was really fast.”

Tyre degradation is something that has been problematic for Bulega so far in 2024.

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

No one has shown more outright speed than the Italian rookie, but getting on top of such issues could be the difference between winning or losing the title.

On the subject of needing to make improvements in that area Bulega added: “Yes, but also in Barcelona I was fast in the long races so I think, for sure I have to study something and do something different but I'm not scared about that.

“I want my 100% feeling [with the bike] to come back. I’m not at 100% but not so bad. I only started training again last week and with these big bikes you need to be fit 100%.

“I came from a difficult month at home but now I can stay focused and prepare better for the next race.”

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