WorldSBK Phillip Island: Bulega heads Ducati’s Friday WorldSSP charge| Gordon Ritchie | WorldSBK
Ducati was firmly in charge of WorldSSP practice on Friday at Phillip Island as Aruba’s Nicolo Bulega denied Althea’s Federico Caricasulo in FP2.
Caricasulo had been the man to beat after the morning’s 45-minute session with his 1’34.067 best set on his last of 21 laps around the 4.4km layout. Bulega outpaced his fellow Panigale by just 0.04s on his penultimate effort to claim the opening day honours with double champion Dominique Aegerter completing the leading trio, four tenths adrift.
Puccetti Kawasaki’s Yari Montella pushed all the way to the end of FP2 his attempt to overhaul the leading riders, in his first WorldSSP visit to Phillip Island, but was fourth fastest, narrowly behind the Ten Kate Yamaha.
Dynavolt Triumph’s Stefano Manzi continued to make progress on the three-cylinder Street Triple RS from fifth while Can Öncü completed the top six on the second Puccetti.
Having lost out on the title fight last weekend, Evan Bros. Yamaha’s Lorenzo Baldassarri sat seventh in the initial Australian standings from Ducati Orelac’s Raffaele De Rosa. While Indonesian race winner Niki Tuuli and local rider Oli Bayliss completed the top ten on their respective MV Agusta and Barni Ducati machines.
The final round saw Marcel Schrotter join the fray on the second MV Agusta ahead of his full-time ride in 2023. The German kicked off his rookie wildcard from 13th in the combined times and 1.2s adrift of the outright target.