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Imola WorldSSP Superpole | Bulega threads through flags to snatch sixth straight pole

Gold & Goose
Nicolo Bulega, Aruba.it Racing, Ducati Panigale V2, 2023 WorldSSP, Imola, action [credit - Gold & Goose]

Nicolo Bulega found a gap in the yellow flags to snatch pole position for Round 7 of the 2023 WorldSSP Championship at Imola, his sixth consecutive Superpole success.

On a weekend that has seen his name on the lips of many in the paddock as speculation grows that he will join Alvaro Bautista in the title-winning Aruba.it Ducati WorldSBK team next season, Bulega once again proved why he is being held in such high regard.

Something of a master over a single lap on the Ducati Panigale V2, though Bulega was challenged hard by fellow Italian Federico Caricasulo for home soil Superpole honours, a late charge saw him get the edge by just 0.036s.


His sixth successive pole position, he is now just one shy of equalling the all-time record for consecutive WorldSSP Superpoles, currently held by Sam Lowes from his title-winning 2013 campaign.

He did get to count on a healthy dose of fortune, however, as one of the few riders to complete their final lap without encountering any yellow flags.

Indeed, the combination of Adrian Huertas and then Jorge Navarro coming down at Rivazza in the final four minutes, plus a disruptive off for wild-card Luca Ottaviani on the exit of the final corner, served to scupper several efforts before the red flag was deployed with 48secs remaining to end the session early.

Caricasulo was one of the riders that lost out, the Althea Ducati rider having been up on Bulega's benchmark before being forced to roll off.

Joining the Ducati duo on the all-Italian front row will be Stefano Manzi, though the Ten Kate Yamaha rider was half a second adrift of the top spot.

Marcel Schroetter led the MV Agusta challenge for its home event in fourth place, ahead of Yari Montella on the Barni Ducati, while Bahattin Sofuoglu made it two MV F3 800RRs on the second row in sixth.

Despite his late tumble, Adrian Huertas held onto seventh place on the grid, leading top Triumph rider Niki Tuuli in eighth and another rider to fall victim to a crash late on, Navarro.

It was a tough session for the British contingent, with all four UK riders outside the top 20 for the two races.

Tom Booth-Amos will have work to do if he wants to match his top six finish from Donington Park as he prepares to come from 21st on the grid, while John McPhee starts just behind him in 23rd.


After several technical issues on Friday as the MIE Honda team introduces upgrades to squeeze more power from the lacklustre CBR600RR package, Tarran Mackenzie could only manage 28th of the 31 starters, while Harry Truelove on the second of the PTR Triumphs was 30th.

2023 Imola WorldSSP | Superpole Qualifying Results

2023 Italian WorldSSP | Imola | Superpole Qualifying Results | Rd. 7 of 12]
1Nicolo BulegaITAAruba Racing WorldSSPDucati Panigale V21m 50.743
2Federico CaricasuloITAAlthea RacingDucati Panigale V21m 50.779
3Stefano ManziITATen Kate RacingYamaha R61m 51.247
4Marcel SchroetterGERMV Agusta Reparto CorseMV Agusta F3 800 RR1m 51.401
5Yari MontellaITABarni Spark RacingDucati Panigale V21m 51.800
6Bahattin SofuogluTURMV Agusta Reparto CorseMV Agusta F3 800 RR1m 51.808
7Adrian HuertasESPMTM RacingKawasaki ZX-6R1m 51.929
8Niki TuuliFINPTR RacingTriumph STR 765 RS1m 51.991
9Jorge NavarroESPTen Kate RacingYamaha R61m 52.038
10Lucas MahiasFRAPuccetti RacingKawasaki ZX-6R1m 52.245
11Luca OttavianiITAExtreme Racing ServiceMV Agusta F3 800 RR1m 52.270
12Andy VerdoiaTHAYamaha Thailand RacingYamaha R61m 52.287
13Nicholas SpinelliITAVFT RacingYamaha R61m 52.468
14Glenn van StraalenNEDEAB RacingYamaha R61m 52.651
15Raffaele de RosaITAOrelac Racing VerdnaturaDucati Panigale V21m 52.687
16Valentin DebiseFRAGMT94Yamaha R61m 52.719
17Federico FuligniITAOrelac Racing VerdnaturaDucati Panigale V21m 52.822
18Emanuele PuscedduITAJ Angel by EdafosYamaha R61m 52.840
19Filippo FulginiITAEvan Bros. TeamYamaha R61m 53.074
20Alvaro DiazESPArco YARTYamaha R61m 53.119
21Tom Booth-AmosGBRMotozoo RacingKawasaki ZX-6R1m 53.129
22Max KoflerGERD34G RacingDucati Panigale V21m 53.593
23John McPheeGBRVince64 by PuccettiKawasaki ZX-6R1m 54.261
24Anupab SarmoonTHAYamaha Thailand RacingYamaha R61m 54.445
25Tom EdwardsAUSYARTYamaha R61m 54.468
26Stefano ValtuliniITAProDina RacingKawasaki ZX-6R1m 54.516
27Luke PowerAUSMotozoo RacingKawasaki ZX-6R1m 54.876
28Tarran MackenzieGBRPetronas MIE RacingHonda CBR600RR1m 54.897
29Maiki AbeJPNVFT RacingYamaha R61m 54.918
30Harry TrueloveGBRPTR RacingTriumph STR 765 RS1m 54.974
31Adam NorrodinMALPetronas MIE RacingHonda CBR600RR1m 55.231
WYuta OkayaJPNProDina RacingKawasaki ZX-6R
WApiwath WongthananonTHAYamaha Thailand RacingYamaha R6
WOliver BaylissAUSD34G RacingDucati Panigale V2

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