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'The first rider you want to beat is your team-mate' - Bautista and Bulega begin off-track rivalry

Gold and Goose

World Superbike Champion, Alvaro Bautista, gave his thoughts on Nicolo Bulega's Aruba.it Racing Superbike debut at the Jerez Test.

After Alvaro Bautista and Nicolo Bulega won the World Superbike and World Supersport Championship this year for the Aruba.it Racing squad they will link up in 2024 as team-mates in the World Superbike class.

After Bulega made his first official appearance for Aruba.it at the Jerez WorldSBK test his new team-mate, Bautista, gave his thoughts to WorldSBK.com about his new partner.


“I knew that Nicolo was very fast and he rode the bike some times before in other tests," started Bautista. "So he knew the bike already, he has more or less a base setup.

"Sincerely, I didn’t expect it but I also expect it; he is fast and he got the feeling very quick with the bike.

"At the moment, I am focused on myself and to try and improve the bike with the weight. Fortunately, this is the first test so we have many days before the first race to find a good solution for our problems.”

Bulega is arriving into the WorldSBK class with heaps of potential after dominating the 2023 WorldSSP Championship. The Italian rider is replacing Michael Ruben Rinaldi in the Factory Ducati setup, as his fellow Italian, Rinaldi, heads over to the Motocorsa Ducati squad.

After winning 16 races and getting five further podiums in the 2023 season Bulega has definitely earned his stripes before his promotion.

“Honestly, I don’t know what kind of work Alvaro did today," responded Nicolo Bulega. "I don’t want to beat Alvaro, I want to beat everybody.

"For sure, Alvaro is the point of reference for Ducati because he’s the best and he’s fast. It’ll be very difficult to beat him.”

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