Bulega took his first ever win in WorldSSP in red-flagged Race 1 ending Ducati’s win drought with their last win coming in 2005.
Nicholas Spinelli claimed his first podium in World Supersport with a last lap overtake on McPhee. John McPhee was third for his first ever WorldSSP race finishing 2.965s behind Spinelli. Tarran Mackenzie claimed fifth spot on his debut and Honda’s return to WorldSSP; Honda’s points remain provisional due to the pending homologation of the bike.
It was a dramatic opening race of the 2023 FIM Supersport World Championship with red flags and wet weather making Race 1 at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit during the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round as Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) claimed his first WorldSSP victory after mastering the wet-weather conditions in Australia. His victory also returned to Ducati to the top step of the WorldSSP podium for the first time since Imola in 2005.
With the red flag delay, rain started to fall as the riders prepared to restart the race and a further delay ensued, with a mixed tyre selection on the grid. Those who opted for intermediate or wet tyres quickly pulled away, including Bulega. Bulega was able to hold on to claim victory after moving into the lead of the race on the opening lap of the restarted race to claim his first victory in any class since he won in Moto3™ CEV at Jerez in 2015. It also ended Ducati’s drought that runs back to Imola in 2005, when Gianluca Nannelli claimed victory.
Bulega’s victory of margin was just under a second ahead of rookie Nicholas Spinelli (VFT Racing Yamaha) after a late charge form the Italian to take second spot on his first appearance with the team. John McPhee (Vince64 by Puccetti Racing) claimed a debut third place despite starting 20th on the original grid. McPhee was running third when the red flags were deployed and he, with Bulega and Spinelli, all on full wet tyres.
WorldSSP Race 1 Results
1. Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team)
2. Nicholas Spinelli (VFT Racing Yamaha) +0.942s
3. John McPhee (Vince64 by Puccetti Racing) +2.965s
4. Niki Tuuli (Dynavolt Triumph) +11.624s
5. Tarran Mackenzie (PETRONAS MIE MS Racing HONDA Team) +15.838s
6. Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) +19.700s
WorldSSP Tissot Superpole Top 3
1. Stefano Manzi / Yamaha / 1’32.814
2. Can Oncu / Kawasaki / +0.244s
3. Yari Montella / Ducati / +0.262s
P1 | Nicolo Bulega | Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team
“It was one of the strangest races in all my life. It was very difficult… I think we made the start three or four times. I don’t know why but my third start was really bad. It started to rain, and I didn’t have any feeling with the bike, and I was down to 19th position. But then when we restarted and I decided to put rain tyre, it was the opposite, my feeling with the bike was incredible. I chose to put the rain tyre and at the end it was the correct choice. I’m also very happy to bring back the win to Ducati. It’s also my first win so it’s been an incredible Saturday.”
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