Nicolo Bulega continued his march towards the 2023 WorldSSP Championship title as he wrapped up a 12th victory of the season during the opening race of Round 10 at Motorland Aragon.
Having taken a big stride towards this year’s crown with his double victory last time out at Magny-Cours, Bulega set himself up for more of the same around the Alcaniz circuit by sprinting clear to another dominant victory.
Indeed, with +0.7 separating Bulega and the competition in qualifying, Bulega came into Race 1 as the rider to beat as ever, a status he’d quickly consolidate upon getting the hole-shot into Turn 1 and rapidly opening up a large lead over the chasing pack.
Romping home with almost four seconds in hand, Bulega’s 12th victory of the season, coupled with an 11th place finish for closest rival Manzi after he ran off track on the final lap of the race, means his margin at the head of the standings swells to 80 points.
With only five races of the season remaining, should Bulega outscore Manzi by 20 points again in Sunday’s Race 2, he will be crowned champion this weekend in Spain.
Manzi had been dicing for a second place finish that would have helped minimise the damage to his already slim title hopes, only to lose a fistful of points running off track coming onto the back straight while dicing with Marcel Schroetter.
The Ten Kate Yamaha rider had up to that point been enjoying an entertaining late race scrap with Schroetter, but would instead release his German rival to take home his seventh podium trophy of the season for MV Agusta.
With Manzi plummeting down the order to 11th, Yari Montella came back up onto the rostrum for his fourth visit of the year. The Italian ran second for much of the race before being swamped by Manzi and Schroetter, but managed to hold off the advancing Federico Caricasulo and Raffaele de Rosa to hold onto third.
Bahattin Sofuoglu made it a positive day for the MV Agusta factory team with a strong run to sixth, ahead of Glenn van Straalen, Jorge Navarro, Niki Tuuli and Valentin Debise, the Frenchman popping up into tenth at the expense of the delayed Manzi.
It was a tough day at the office for the British trio with Tom Booth-Amos and John McPhee retiring, while Tarran Mackenzie trailed in 26th and last.
|2023 Aragon WorldSSP | Motorland Aragon | Race 1 Results | Rd. 10 of 12]|
|1||Nicolo Bulega||🇮🇹||Aruba Racing WorldSSP||Ducati Panigale V2||16 Laps|
|2||Marcel Schroetter||🇩🇪||MV Agusta Reparto Corse||MV Agusta F3 800 RR||+3.581|
|3||Yari Montella||🇮🇹||Barni Spark Racing||Ducati Panigale V2||+4.106|
|4||Federico Caricasulo||🇮🇹||Althea Racing||Ducati Panigale V2||+4.306|
|5||Raffaele de Rosa||🇮🇹||Orelac Racing Verdnatura||Ducati Panigale V2||+5.830|
|6||Bahattin Sofuoglu||🇹🇷||MV Agusta Reparto Corse||MV Agusta F3 800 RR||+6.763|
|7||Glenn van Straalen||🇳🇱||EAB Racing||Yamaha R6||+10.583|
|8||Jorge Navarro||🇪🇦||Ten Kate Racing||Yamaha R6||+10.718|
|9||Niki Tuuli||🇫🇮||PTR Racing||Triumph STR 765 RS||+10.786|
|10||Valentin Debise||🇨🇵||GMT94||Yamaha R6||+11.751|
|11||Stefano Manzi||🇮🇹||Ten Kate Racing||Yamaha R6||+12.050|
|12||Yeray Ruiz||🇪🇦||MDR Offtec||Yamaha R6||+22.001|
|13||Alvaro Diaz||🇪🇦||Arco YART||Yamaha R6||+22.045|
|14||Nicholas Spinelli||🇮🇹||VFT Racing||Yamaha R6||+22.571|
|15||Ondrej Vostatek||🇵🇱||PTR Racing||Triumph STR 765 RS||+26.792|
|16||Lorenzo Dalla Porta||🇮🇹||Evan Bros. Team||Yamaha R6||+28.460|
|17||Can Oncu||🇹🇷||Puccetti Racing||Kawasaki ZX-6R||+31.1|
|18||Tom Edwards||🇦🇺||YART||Yamaha R6||+31.1|
|19||Anupab Sarmoon||🇹🇭||Yamaha Thailand Racing||Yamaha R6||+33.2|
|20||Federico Fuligni||🇮🇹||Orelac Racing Verdnatura||Ducati Panigale V2||+36.0|
|21||Max Kofler||🇦🇹||D34G Racing||Ducati Panigale V2||+43.4|
|22||Luke Power||🇦🇺||Motozoo Racing||Kawasaki ZX-6R||+45.4|
|23||Leonardo Taccini||🇮🇹||Vince64 by Puccetti||Kawasaki ZX-6R||+49.3|
|24||Yuta Okaya||🇯🇵||ProDina Racing||Kawasaki ZX-6R||+49.3|
|25||Adam Norrodin||🇲🇾||Petronas MIE Racing||Honda CBR600RR||+49.4|
|26||Tarran Mackenzie||🇬🇧||Petronas MIE Racing||Honda CBR600RR||+50.1|
|DNF||Adrian Huertas||🇪🇦||MTM Racing||Kawasaki ZX-6R|
|DNF||Hector Garzo||🇪🇦||Yamaha Thailand Racing||Yamaha R6|
|DNF||Tom Booth-Amos||🇬🇧||Motozoo Racing||Kawasaki ZX-6R|
|DNF||John McPhee||🇦🇹||D34G Racing||Ducati Panigale V2|
|DNS||Maiki Abe||🇯🇵||VFT Racing||Yamaha R6|
|DNS||Julian Giral||🇪🇦||Ducati Zaragoza||Ducati Panigale V2|