It was a double win in Australia for Bulega as he led Manzi and Oncu to take Race 2 victory. He heads into Indonesia with a 20-point advantage over his rivals.
Stefano Manzi was fighting at the front when the race was red flagged. With his sixth WorldSSP podium, he leaves Phillip Island in second place in the Championship standings with 30 points. Can Oncu took his first podium of 2023 with third place, bouncing back after his Race 1 DNF.
Race 2 in the FIM Supersport World Championship was a tense, nail-biting race at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round as Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) backed up his wet-weather Race 1 win with victory in Sunday’s Race 2. The race was shortened from 18 laps when the red flags were deployed on Lap 15 due to geese on the track, with the top three separated by less than a second consistently throughout the race.
It was a three-way battle for victory in Race 2 as Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha), Bulega and Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) fought hard for victory. Bulega took the lead at the start and held on until Lap 10 when Manzi overtook his compatriot at Turn 2 to take the lead of the race for the first time. On Lap 13, Bulega responded down the pit straight to pass Manzi and re-take the lead of the race for his second win of the 2023 after the race was red-flagged due to Cape Barren geese on track on Lap 15 of the originally scheduled 18.
As two-thirds race distance had been completed, the race was not restarted with Bulega in first place, Manzi second and Turkish star Oncu in third place. The trio were really separated by more than half-a-second throughout the race, with the gap between the top three just 0.665s at the end of the race.
Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) claimed his best WorldSSP result with fourth spot and it also ensured four manufacturers were represented in the top four with Ducati, Yamaha, Kawasaki and MV Agusta. Schroetter had to fight his way up the order and he was eventually 1.4s clear of Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team) in fifth place, while Jorge Navarro (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) was sixth on his first WorldSSP weekend.
Home hero Oli Bayliss (D34G Racing) took 10th spot.
WorldSSP Race 2 Results
1. Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team)
2. Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) +0.382s
3. Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) +0.665s
4. Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) +9.647s
5. Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team) +11.080s
6. Jorge Navarro (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) +12.934s
WorldSSP Championship standings
1. Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) 50 points
2. Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) 30 points
3. Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) 22 points
P1 | Nicolo Bulega | Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team
“What a way to start the season. To win the first two races in a row is incredible. Thanks to my team because they did a really good job. It was a very good fight, a clear one with Manzi and Oncu. I really enjoyed it, even more because I won. It was a very fun race. I’m really happy and I will enjoy it!
Last year I missed the podium in Mandalika, but I was fast all weekend. I think this year we can be competitive there because I feel stronger than in 2022. My bike is also stronger so I believe we can be fast in Mandalika.”
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