Free practices for the Indonesian Round, the second leg of the 2023 WorldSBK season, ended in the best possible way for the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team thanks to Michael Rinaldi and Alvaro Bautista who finished P1 and P2 respectively in the combined standings.
Michael Rinaldi was immediately at ease at the Mandalika circuit and despite a crash without consequences, he closed FP1 in first place. In the afternoon the track conditions improved considerably and the Italian rider lowered his time by more than two seconds, confirming himself as the fastest rider on track.
After finishing third in the morning session, Alvaro Bautista found more confidence in the afternoon. The Spanish rider also made a small mistake which forced him to return to the pits, but in the final stages of FP2 he pushed hard, finishing 29 thousandths behind his team-mate.
P1 – Michael Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #21) 1’32.448
“It was definitely a positive day. Right from this morning the feeling was very good even if I crashed after just two laps. Thanks to the team’s work, though, I was able to get right back on track without losing feeling with the bike. This is a particular track: despite the very good asphalt, the lack of rubber is evident and off the line, it’s easy to end up on the dirt making a mistake. Therefore, it’s important to be very careful, especially in the first few laps. Very satisfying sessions, I repeat, but concentration must stay high”.
P2 – Alvaro Bautista (aruba.it Racing – Ducati #1) 1’32.497, +0.029
“It wasn’t an easy Friday, also because the track wasn’t in ideal condition in FP1. In the afternoon we worked on the set-up mainly to try and solve the problems we experienced last November. I must say that the work done with the team paid off and I am satisfied with that. I regret having made a mistake that caused the crash. We still have to figure out which tyre to use tomorrow in Race 1. We will decide after tomorrow’s FP3”.
Extremely good Friday for Nicolò Bulega, who finished first in both FP1 and FP2.
P1 – Nicolò Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WSSP #11) 1’36.705
“We finished on top in both sessions but the feeling was very different from what we had in Australia. It’s clear that the asphalt conditions were difficult for everyone, especially in FP1 when we were the first to get on track. Anyway, I am satisfied because the feeling with the bike wasn’t bad at all. Tomorrow we’ll definitely find a better circuit and try to improve further.