WorldSBK: Nicolo Bulega wins his first ever World Superbike race in dominant fashion

Published on February 24, 2024
By Luke Newman

World Superbike rookie Nicolo Bulega stunned everyone as he claimed pole position and a race win in his first WorldSBK race weekend.

Nicolo Bulega battled hard against World Superbike veterans in his debut WorldSBK appearance, but the Italian managed to cross the line in first place despite his rivals best efforts. The rookie arrived in the Championship as the reigning World Supersport Champion and has started the year off as the World Superbike Championship leader.

Andrea Locatelli went for a different strategy to Bulega when it came to pit stops, but ultimately his gamble did not pay off and finished as second best once again However, the Italian rider did manage to finish as the top Yamaha.

After four years away from competitive racing the former MotoGP race winner, Andrea Iannone, returned to on track action. The now GoEleven Ducati rider managed to claim a podium finish in hid debut race in WorldSBK as he completed an Italian 1-2-3 as he rounded out the podium.

The top Kawasaki rider and the new lead Kawasaki rider, Alex Lowes, finished as the top British rider as he just missed out on a podium finish in fourth place.

Toprak Razgatlioglu made a big gamble switching to BMW for the 2024 WorldSBK season. However, after the first race it seems like it was a good decision. The Turkish rider crossed the line in fourth place, but due to a penalty he picked up because of his pit-stop he finished the race in fifth.

Dominique Aegerter has had a unproductive pre-season due to illness. However, when it mattered the two-time World Supersport Champion showed up and finished in sixth place, despite an awful start to the race.

Michael van der Mark was the second best BMW as he looked to challenge for a top five in the early stages of the race but had to settle with seventh. Danilo Petrucci was in the same boat as the Dutchman as his early race efforts ended up resulting in an eighth place finish.

Garrett Gerloff, Scott Redding and Xavi Vierge were fighting hard for the final two places inside the top five. The BMW duo may have crossed the line in ninth and tenth, but due to a penalty Redding dropped back to 11th place. This meant the lone Team HRC rider, Vierge, inherited tenth and finished as the top Honda.

After struggling to adapt from a Ducati to a Kawasaki it was a promising start for Axel Bassani. That was until he knocked Remy Gardner off his Yamaha early on in the race and had to take a long lap penalty. The Italian rider finished the race down in 12th, but has shown promise.

The final three point scoring positions of 13th, 14th and 15th were all occupied by Ducati riders. WorldSBK rookie, Sam Lowes, finished in 13th place after a poor pit-stop saw him drop outside of the top ten in his WorldSBK debut. Michael Ruben Rinaldi was down in 14th place today after a rather quiet debut race with the Motocorsa Ducati squad. In the final point scoring position was the two-time WorldSBK Champion, Alvaro Bautista, the 39-year-old did not get his title defence off to a good start after crashing in the opening race of the season, but did make his way back to 15th.

British riders Jonathan Rea, Tarran Mackenzie and Bradley Ray all finished the opening race of the season outside of the points. Rea had a terrible Yamaha debut as he finished 17th overall after suffering an awful pit-stop and losing 23 seconds. Mackenzie put together a solid race in his WorldSBK debut as he finished 19th. Ray finished dead last on track after taking a tumble at the Miller Hairpin earlier on in the race.

Race One Full Results:

2024 Australian WorldSBK | Phillip Island | Race One Results | Rd. 1 of 12
PosRiderNatTeamMotorcycleLap Time
1Nicolo BulegaITAAruba.It Racing DucatiDucati Panigale V4 R
2Andrea LocatelliITAPata Crescent RacingYamaha R1+2.280
3Andrea IannoneITAGoEleven DucatiDucati Panigale V4 R+2.630
4Alex LowesGBRKawasaki Racing Team WorldSBKKawasaki ZX-10RR+4.728
5Toprak RazgatliogluTURROKIT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK TeamBMW M 1000 RR+5.706
6Dominique AegerterSUIGYTR GRT YamahaYamaha R1+8.333
7Michael van der MarkNEDROKIT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK TeamBMW M 1000 RR+8.647
8Danilo PetrucciITABarni Spark Racing TeamDucati Panigale V4 R+9.965
9Garrett GerloffUSABonovo Action BMWBMW M 1000 RR+11.699
10Xavi ViergeESPTeam HRCHonda CBR1000RR-R+12.423
11Scott ReddingGBRBonovo Action BMWBMW M 1000 RR+14.413
12Axel BassaniITAKawasaki Racing Team WorldSBKKawasaki ZX-10RR+16.668
13Sam LowesGBRMarc VDS DucatiDucati Panigale V4 R+18.388
14Michael Ruben RinaldiITAMotocorsa DucatiDucati Panigale V4 R+23.560
15Alvaro BautistaESPAruba.It Racing DucatiDucati Panigale V4 R+32.471
16Philipp OettlGERGMT 94 YamahaYamaha R1+35.580
17Jonathan ReaGBRPata Crescent RacingYamaha R1+37.949
18Tito RabatESPPuccetti KawasakiKawasaki ZX-10RR+39.427
19Tarran MackenzieGBRMIE Petronas HondaHonda CBR1000RR-R+54.890
20Adam NorrodinMALMIE Petronas HondaHonda CBR1000RR-R+57.202
21Bradley RayGBRYamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK TeamYamaha R1+58.642
DNFRemy GardnerAUSGYTR GRT YamahaYamaha R1

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