Lowes leads the charge as Bulega impresses, while WorldSBK triumvirate face challenges

Alex Lowes showed an impressive pace, setting a new lap record, and topping the timesheets on Friday.
Rookie Nicolo Bulega demonstrated immediate competitiveness in the Championship by securing second place overall, impressing with his performance.
Multiple-time Champions Alvaro Bautista and Jonathan Rea had a difficult Friday.
Friday’s WorldSBK action at Phillip Island saw Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) dominate proceedings, setting a new lap record and finishing atop the timesheets. Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) secured second place overall, while Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha), in third, showcased strong potential with a new lap record in FP1.

Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) led the Independent contenders, securing fourth place overall, followed closely by Rookie Sam Lowes (ELF Marc VDS Racing Team) in sixth. Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) had a quiet start finishing tenth overall and Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) took seventh place.

However, Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), the Reigning Champion, finished 12th overall, while perennial contender Jonathan Rea (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) ended up in 16th place in the combined results.

P1 | Alex Lowes | Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK

“Today was good, we had some difficult conditions today, not many laps. Obviously, the format for the weekend has changed since the test. So, we’re in a little bit of a different mentality. We’re trying to look for an out and out performance. We must look after the tyres for 10/11 laps rather than 22 laps. This means we can play a bit more with the power of the bike, maybe have a bit more aggressive setting on the on the way the bike turns to use a little bit more the tyres. In the afternoon, honestly, we use the tyres from this morning to start with, didn’t feel too bad and then we used the SC2 front tyre which I quite like took the test when it was hotter and also by using it today it means we can focus on the SC1 tyre which gives me some more turning and helps me around the bike a little bit for the especially for 10 laps. I didn’t expect to be as fast as I was. Maybe with the SCT tyre for one lap, you can use the grip and then it was dropping a bit, and I was struggling to turn the back, so I’m sure there’s plenty of areas we can improve, but in general I’m positive, feeling good. Quite a lot of pretty good laps. My pace is staying OK we know that this year it was like there’s so many fast guys in such a in such a tight space. But if I can do a good qualifying, then I think I can be in the mix tomorrow and start the year 2024.”