Bautista powers to brillant win in the wet at Phillip Island. Rinaldi finishes 14th. Bulega and the Ducati Panigale V2 take first-ever win in WorldSSP

An extraordinary Saturday for the Racing – Ducati team. First the stunning win for Nicolò Bulega who enters the history of Supersport, taking to victory for the first time the Ducati Panigale V2 of the Racing WSSP team at the end of a race full of twists and turns. Then the amazing success of Alvaro Bautista who dominates in wet conditions. 

The first race of the 2023 WorldSBK season took place with persistent rain. 

Alvaro Bautista – who started from second position on the grid – chased Rea (Kawasaki) over the first eight laps before taking the lead halfway through the race and finishing by a wide margin. 

It was an extremely difficult race for Michael Rinaldi, who was unable to get off a good start from sixth position, finding himself far behind in the field in the first lap and closing in P14.

Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati #1)
“I am very happy with this victory also because we were able to take it in extremely different conditions to those we had in testing. We didn’t have any reference data and that’s why it was important to stay focused, especially in the first laps, to understand the track well, and to find the limit. We got a good win, the best way to start the season. If I have to be honest, though, I hope to race in dry conditions tomorrow. 

Michael Rinaldi ( Racing – Ducati #21)
“It’s certainly not the best way to start the season. We arrived at this race with great confidence but the weather changed the game and in these conditions, right from the first laps I couldn’t get the right feeling with the bike. There are times when you have to stay calm, try not to overdo things and *not to risk making mistakes, as they could affect the following races. I’m sure that tomorrow we can get back to the positions where we have shown we can be during all the tests”.

  • WorldSSP

A day that will be long remembered by Nicolò Bulega, Ducati and the Racing WSSP team. The Italian rider was the protagonist of an epic feat at the end of a race conditioned by the rain that fell during the grid procedures. Bulega made a bad start, finding himself sixteenth, then a red flag came out to interrupt the race. Despite the track being dry in places, Bulega opted for rain tires and the choice proved to be the right one. The Italian rider recovered 12 positions at the first corner, took the lead on the first lap, and dominated to pass in triumph under the chequered flag. 

Nicolò Bulega ( Racing WSSP #11)
“It was an incredible Saturday. In both qualifying and the race, the weather conditions were always difficult to understand. Especially the choice of tire was constantly a gamble. In the end, however, we managed to win, achieving a very important result. I want to thank my team: they did an extraordinary job this winter and without them, I would haven’t been able to bring home this victory.