Success for Ducati: Race 1 to Bautista, Bulega WorldSSP champ
Manufacturers’ title in WorldSBK and riders’ World title in WorldSSP; victory for Gennai in 300 and the season is still open. Outstanding performance for the standard Pirelli tyres
The first day of racing at the Pirelli Portuguese Round, the penultimate event in the FIM World Superbike Championship, was an absolute success for Ducati. In WorldSBK, thanks to Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), and his Race 1 win, the manufacturer from Borgo Panigale took home the Manufacturers’ Title, whereas in WorldSSP, Nicolò Bulega was crowned 2023 World Champion with three races still left to ride in the championship season.
In both categories, the riders were able to take full advantage of the solutions brought by Pirelli, particularly the standard SC0, which proved to be fast and consistent.
The season is still wide open in the FIM Supersport300 World Championship where the Race 1 win went to Mirko Gennai (Team BrCorse) on Yamaha.
Standard tyres consistent and fast races with high temperatures
“The Portimão track is not an easy one. If there were a podium for the circuits where Superbike races which are the most demanding on tyres, it would probably be on the bottom step just behind Phillip Island and Most. For this reason, we covered our bases by also bringing the harder solutions for both the rear and the front. However, at the end of the day, the protagonists were once again the soft SC0 at the rear and the medium SC1 at the front - both standard solutions available for purchase by the public on the market. The SC0 and the SC2 front were hardly used by any riders because they are less competitive than the SC1. Despite the rather high temperatures, tyre performance was extremely consistent and the lap times demonstrate as much. Congratulations to Ducati and their riders for taking home a well-deserved Manufacturers’ Title and to Nicolò Bulega for the world champion title after a season rife with victories where he demonstrated consistency and perseverance from start to finish.”
- Kawasaki one-two in qualifying: Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) took pole position with a time of 1’39.620, extremely close to the track record he had set last year, whereas his teammate Alex Lowes finished second. Rounding out the front row was Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) who, however, will start last anyway due to a penalty levied against him in Aragón. This takes Toprak Razgatlioğlu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) from the second to the first row, with Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) occupying the first spot on the second row. At the rear, all the riders used the standard SCX which Pirelli chose for Portimão as the qualifying and Superpole Race tyre instead of the SCQ. At the front, the riders on the front two rows use the standard SC1.
- In Race 1, all the riders chose the standard SC0 for the rear, which was the softer of the two tyres available to them. At the front, almost everyone opted for the standard SC1 with the exception of the two BMW riders, Scott Redding and Michael Van Der Mark (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team), as well as Hafizh Syahrin (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team) who preferred going with the standard hard tyre, the SC2. Up to the mid-race point, it was a three-way battle between pole man Rea, Ragatlioğlu and Bautista. Then the Ducati rider took the lead and only the Turkish rider was able to stay with him, whereas Rea slipped back to third place at a gap of almost four seconds behind the leading duo. In the final laps, the defending World Champion widened the gap over the Turkish Yamaha rider, winning the race easily. Second place went to Razgatlioğlu and third to Rea, but this result was not enough for Bautista to be mathematically crowned champion.
- Ninth pole position of the season and the fourth consecutive for Nicolò Bulega (Aruba Racing WorldSSP Team) who, with a time of 1'42.769, also set the new track record, improving on the one Dominique Aegerter (Yamaha) set last year by almost three tenths of a second. In qualifying, the Italian rider used the standard SC0 at the rear and the SC1 B1333 development solution at the front. The same choice was also made by second-place finisher and the other main title contender, Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha), as well as by Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team), who finished third.
- In Race 1, almost all the riders chose to start with the soft standard SC0 at the rear, with the only exception being Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) who preferred using the SC1 A1128 development solution. At the front, most of the riders opted for the SC1 development solution in B1333 specification. Nicolò Bulega (Aruba Racing WorldSSP Team), starting from pole position, led the race from start to finish to be crowned World Champion in the WorldSSP category with 3 races still left to ride. The only rider who managed to maintain the Ducati rider’s pace was Stefano Manzi on Yamaha, but he was forced to settle for second, which meant that any hope of continuing to battle for the world title went up in smoke. Third place went to Jorge Navarro (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha).
More details on the tyres used in the race are available on the technical sheets attached to this release.