Bulega expects 'tough' rookie season, Baldassarri aiming for WorldSSP title

Nicolo Bulega expects a 'tough' WorldSSP campaign with returning Ducati, while fellow rookie Lorenzo Baldassarri has clear goals in mind; 'I think I will go with the championship as the main focus'.
Bulega expects 'tough' rookie season, Baldassarri aiming for WorldSSP title

Although Ducati’s return to WorldSSP has brought with it lofty expectations, Nicolo Bulega anticipates a ‘tough’ rookie season despite impressive pace during testing. 

After spending seven seasons in the Grand Prix paddock - the last three in Moto2 - Bulega is making a similar switch to that of former Moto2 rider and 2021 Supersport world champion Dominique Aegerter. 

However, unlike the Swiss rider who joined perennial title challengers Yamaha (Ten Kate Team), Bulega is switching to Ducati with the Italian manufacturer's newly homologated Panigale V2 machine. 

Ducati’s return to WorldSSP racing means it will compete in the intermediate class for the first time since 2007. 

Speaking at the Aruba.it Racing Ducati team launch, Bulega added: "I'm very motivated for this new adventure. It's a great opportunity for me and I feel I have all the requirements to do well. 

"The tests have been very positive, I felt comfortable both with the Panigale V2 and with the team, which is very important to me. 

"It's going to be a tough season for sure and for this reason we need to put our heads together and try to get the most out of every single race."

While so much was expected of Bulega in the Grand Prix paddock, the former VR46 academy rider failed to showcase his true potential, which is also a statement that can be made about Lorenzo Baldassarri. 

Even though Baldassarri had much more success during his time in Moto2 - claimed four wins as opposed to Bulega’s zero - the new Evan Bros. Yamaha man was touted as a potential MotoGP rider before two extremely disappointing seasons in 2020 and 2021. 

Nevertheless, the change of machinery and category has given Baldassarri a fresh mindset, one where matching Andrea Locatelli and Aegerter as rookie champions is his aim. 

Baldassarri told WorldSBK.com: "I think I will go with the championship as the main focus, 100%. I know how strong I am. 

"Also, last year was very tough for me, but now I’m recharging my battery. The battery is at 100% and I’m ready to fight for the important positions. 

"I think I will do great with the team because they are supporting me very well. I’m training up. I will be ready to fight to win. 

"The main target is to be fast at the beginning, fighting for the lead, I should be the fastest from Yamaha. Domi was very fast last year, and did great. 

"That’s the important thing. We will see how the new rules and how the Championship is going."

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