Bulega ended a wait of 14 years and 361 days for Ducati between podium visits in WorldSSP after he claimed third place in Race 2 at Aragon
The next generation of the FIM Supersport World Championship got underway at MotorLand Aragon during the Pirelli Aragon Round with the debut of three new bikes on the grid. The Ducati Panigale V2 marked Ducati’s first entry in WorldSSP since the 2007 campaign with no fewer than seven machines on the grid and on just their second race of the comeback, the Bologna manufacturer returned to the rostrum with Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team).
New technical rules have opened up WorldSSP to more bikes with the Ducati Panigale V2, MV Agusta F3 800 RR and the Triumph Street Triple RS all joining the grid for the 2022 season. Ducati’s last appearance in WorldSSP came in 2007 when Alessio Corradi finished 17th at Vallelunga on the Ducati 749R. For 2022, the Bologna manufacturer have introduced the Ducati Panigale V2 and the combination of Bulega and the bike has been dipping under existing lap records in testing and showed its pace in Race 2 when Bulega claimed third place.
In Tissot Superpole on Saturday, Bulega put his Panigale V2 machine fourth on the grid as he started on the second row of the grid before finishing fifth behind Dutch rider Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team). In Race 2, Bulega was once again behind van Straalen heading into the final lap in what would have been a battle for fourth place but a late retirement for Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) promoted the pair. Van Straalen led Bulega until the final corner but found himself overhauled by Bulega who returned Ducati to the podium.
Discussing his race, Bulega said: “It was a really good race. During the winter, the team worked really, really well. We did a great job because the bike is new, we didn’t have data, so we were coming here just with the bike. I’m really happy. We did a great job and I want to see the next races. We were lucky because Oncu stopped the bike. I saw him angry in the straight. In the end, it’s a podium. We have to take this podium and not stop working because we have things to improve.”
Bulega’s third place finish was five days short of the 15th anniversary of Ducati’s last podium in WorldSSP, which came on April 15th, 2007 at Valencia when Gianluca Nannelli scored third place on the 749R machine. It meant a long wait of 14 years and 361 days between podiums ended for Bulega with his third-place finish, and the first podium of his WorldSSP career.
Reacting to Ducati’s first WorldSSP podium since 2007, Bulega said: “It’s really special. Ducati came back to WorldSSP and their first podium is with me, it’s incredible. We have to work because we are not fighting for the victory and what we want, why we started this project, is to fight for the victory. We need to improve and work really hard.”
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