WorldSBK: Nicolo Bulega continues to dominate WorldSBK preseason

Published on January 29, 2024
By Luke Newman

After finishing first in both days of the Jerez Test last week Nicolo Bulega continues his strong 2024 World Superbike preseason test form at Portimao.

The World Superbike riders were back on track ahead of the 2024 season as their preparations take them to Portimao for two more days of testing before jetting off to Australia for the opening round of the season at Phillip Island.


The standout rider from preseason testing so far has been Nicolo Bulega. The Italian rider has been unstoppable so far on the timing screens as he has topped three out of three days of testing. The WorldSBK rookie dominated in Jerez, lapping under the WorldSBK lap record, and continued his form in Portugal finding himself on top once again.

Alvaro Bautista really struggled in Jerez with injuries he picked up at the back end of 2023 and the new weight of his Ducati Panigale V4R. However, he looked to be back on the pace at Portimao as he finished Day One in eighth place.

Fellow WorldSBK rookie, Sam Lowes, finished the first day at Portimao in sixth place. The British rider may have only just come across from Moto2 but has adapted to the Ducati Panigale V4R almost seamlessly. Andrea Iannone may have impressed in Jerez, but at Portimao it has been a different story in Portugal, as the Italian rider fell down the order to 17th.

The two other Ducati satellite riders for Michael Ruben Rinaldi and Danilo Petrucci were also on track and finished the day in 14th and 16th place respectively.

Image Credit:


Toprak Razgatlioglu is once again the top BMW in a preseason test. The Turkish rider has looked strong so far in testing and finished in second place today, less than a tenth of a second behind Bulega in the time sheets. Razgatlioglu, as well as other BMW riders, had been testing a whole have a new swingarm, updated engine specs, revised aero packages and ever-improving electronics.

Michael van der Mark got his first ever win for BMW back at Portimao in 2021 and today finished in seventh place in the first day of testing at the same circuit. The Dutch riders 2023 season was plagued by injuries but ahead of his fourth season with the German manufacturer van der Mark looks fighting fit.

The Bonovo Action BMW duo of Garrett Gerloff and Scott Redding both finished outside of the top ten today in 12th and 15th place respectively. The British rider finished inside the top three in Jerez but has not reached the same heights at Portimao as of yet.

The BMW test team were once again present at the preseason test, much like at Jerez. Sylvain Guintoli finished in 21st place and Bradley Smith was just below him on the timing screen in 22nd.

Image credit: BMW Group


Jonathan Rea continues his adaptation to the Yamaha R1 after eight years with Kawasaki. However, the six-time WorldSBK Champion has made it seem flawless so far as he ended the first day of testing in Portimao in third place, just behind Razgatlioglu.

Remy Gardner was back on form once again and as the sole GYTR GRT Yamaha rider took his R1 to fourth place on the timing screen. Just behind the Australian was Pata Yamaha rider, Andrea Locatelli, the factory Yamaha rider finished the opening day in fifth place.

Bradley Ray returned to track action as he took his Motoxracing Yamaha out on track for the first time in 2024 after missing the Jerez Test, the British rider ended the day in 11th place. German rider, Philipp Oettl, may have impressed in Jerez but found himself down in 20th place today.

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After what can only be classed as an awful test at Jerez Team HRC have shown signs of improvements at Portimao today. Xavi Vierge made his way into the top ten as he finished in ninth place today eight tenths off of first place. As for Iker Lecuona he finished in 13th place and has also made his way up the time sheets since Jerez.

The MIE Racing squad may not be on the official standings. However, Tarran Mackenzie was in Portimao today, but he only completed two laps.

Image Credit: Honda Racing Corporation


Despite early technical issues Alex Lowes was the top Kawasaki rider as he managed to finish todays test session in tenth place overall. He tried a new swingarm, as the hunt for more rear grip and better acceleration continues.

Fellow factory Kawasaki rider, Axel Bassani, is still not having a great time on the ZX-10RR as the Italian rider finished down in 18th place today.

Puccetti Kawasaki rider, Tito Rabat, was only just behind Bassani today as he finished in 19th place on the timing screens. With Kawasaki test rider Florian Marino in 23rd.

Image Credit: Kawasaki Racing Team

Full Results from Day One of the WorldSBK Portimao Test:

2024 World Superbike Test Portimao, Portugal – Day-One Results
PosRiderNatTeamMotorcycleLap Time
1Nicolo BulegaITAAruba.It Racing DucatiDucati Panigale V4 R1m 39.913s
2Toprak RazgatliogluTURROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK TeamBMW M 1000 RR+0.094
3Jonathan ReaGBRPata Crescent RacingYamaha R1+0.148
4Remy GardnerAUSGYTR GRT YamahaYamaha R1+0.355
5Andrea LocatelliITAPata Crescent RacingYamaha R1+0.357
6Sam LowesGBRMarc VDS DucatiDucati Panigale V4 R+0.550
7Michael van der MarkNEDROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBKBMW M 1000 RR+0.723
8Alvaro BautistaESPAruba.It Racing DucatiDucati Panigale V4 R+0.760
9Xavi ViergeESPTeam HRCHonda CBR1000RR-R+0.816
10Alex LowesGBRKawasaki Racing Team WorldSBKKawasaki ZX-10RR+0.866
11Bradley RayGBRYamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK TeamYamaha R1+1.114
12Garrett GerloffUSABonovo Action BMWBMW M 1000 RR+1.126
13Iker LecuonaESPTeam HRCHonda CBR1000RR-R+1.131
14Michael Ruben RinaldiITAMotocorsa DucatiDucati Panigale V4 R+1.168
15Scott ReddingGBRBonovo Action BMWBMW M 1000 RR+1.170
16Danilo PetrucciITABarni Spark Racing TeamDucati Panigale V4 R+1.239
17Andrea IannoneITAGoEleven DucatiDucati Panigale V4 R+1.295
18Axel BassaniITAKawasaki Racing Team WorldSBKKawasaki ZX-10RR+1.392
19Tito RabatESPPuccetti KawasakiKawasaki ZX-10RR+1.571
20Philipp OettlGERGMT 94 YamahaYamaha R1+1.823
21Sylvain GuintoliFRAROKIT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK TeamBMW M 1000 RR+2.189
22Bradley SmithGBRROKIT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK TeamBMW M 1000 RR+2.979
23Florian MarinoFRAKawasaki Racing Team WorldSBKKawasaki ZX-10RR+3.410

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