Bulega expects ‘tough’ rookie season, Baldassarri targets WorldSSP title | Superbikes of the world

Although Ducati’s return to WorldSSP has raised high expectations, Nicolo Bulega expects a “difficult” rookie season despite impressive pace in testing.

After spending seven seasons in the Grand Prix paddock – the last three in Moto2 – Bulega is making a change similar to that of former Moto2 rider and 2021 Supersport World Champion Dominique Aegerter.

However, unlike the Swiss rider who joined perennial title challengers Yamaha (Ten Kate Team), Bulega is switching to Ducati with the Italian manufacturer’s newly homologated Panigale V2 machine.

Ducati’s return to WorldSSP means it will compete in the intermediate class for the first time since 2007.

Speaking at the Aruba.it Racing Ducati Team launch, Bulega added: “I’m very excited for this new adventure. It’s a great opportunity for me and I feel that I have all the conditions to do well.

“The tests were very positive, I felt comfortable both with the Panigale V2 and with the team, which is very important to me.

“It will definitely be a tough season and for that reason we have to think together and try to get the most out of every race.”

When so much was expected of Bulega in the Grand Prix paddock, the former VR46 academy rider failed to show his true potential, which is also a statement that can be made about by Lorenzo Baldassarri.

Even though Baldassarri had far more success during his time in Moto2 – taking four wins to none for Bulega – Evan Bros. Yamaha’s new man was touted as a potential MotoGP rider ahead of two hugely disappointing seasons in 2020 and 2021 .

Nonetheless, the machinery and class change has given Baldassarri a new mindset, one where matching Andrea Locatelli and Aegerter as rookie champions is his goal.

Baldassarri told WorldSBK.com: “I think I’m going to focus on the championship 100%. I know how strong I am.

“Also, last year was very difficult for me, but now I am recharging my battery. The battery is at 100% and I am ready to fight for the important positions.

“I think I will do very well with the team because they support me very well. I am training. I will be ready to fight to win.

“The main objective is to be fast at the start, to fight for the lead, I should be the fastest in Yamaha. Domi was very fast last year and did very well.”

“That’s the most important thing. We’ll see how the new rules and how the championship goes.”

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