Aruba Ducati’s Nicolo Bulega continued his early season form by securing WorldSSP Superpole at Mandalika on Saturday morning.
A 1’35.520 held off Althea’s Federico Caricasulo by a mere 0.003s as the 20 minute session came to conclusion with Puccetti Kawasaki’s Can Öncü slotting into third in the closing stages.
Qualifying kicked off at a hot and humid Lombok Circuit with track temperatures already hitting 44℃ for the morning action as Öncü set the pace with a 1’35.961. Yamaha’s Nicholas Spinelli found an early limit on the VFT Yamaha with a trip through the gravel at the final corner before last season’s polesitter Niki Tuuli arrived to the lead, 0.046s ahead.
Friday man Bulega headed a trio of Italians from third place, the Panigale V2 two tenths off the outright target, with Ten Kate Yamaha’s Stefano Manzi and Caricasulo a second adrift to round out the top five.
The second runs fired up with Bulega launching for pole thanks to a dominating 1’35.520 effort. Caricasulo following his fellow Ducati rider to sit 0.003s adrift with Dynavolt Triumph’s Tuuli dropped to third, four tenths shy, until Öncü displaced him further next time around.
Raffaele de Rosa was the next to climb as the Italian found fifth on the Orelac Verdnatura Panigale, Marcel Schrotter, Glenn van Straalen and Jorge Navarro heading the recovered Spinelli with Manzi and Vince64’s John McPhee on the edge of the top ten.
Schrotter’s climb continued as the clock counted down. The MV Agusta rider finding fifth, half a second off the outright pace as the chequered flag prepared. Spinelli the sole rider registering an attack before the lap faded in the final sector to consolidate eighth.
Bulega maintained his advantage from fellow Bologna rider Caricasulo with Öncü, Tuuli and Schrotter completing the top five. McPhee qualified 11th on his second attempt in the Supersport class, Petronas MIE Honda’s Tarran Mackenzie and Triumph’s Harry Truelove lining up 16th and 19th respectively for this afternoon’s opening race.