It was a memorable return to Donington Park as Brad Ray took a top six on Friday, the sign of big things to come?
There’s nothing quite like racing at home and that will be the feeling that Brad Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) will have after a very positive opening day at the Prosecco DOC UK Round. Donington Park has been the scene of much elation and celebration for Ray in the past and he’ll be looking to compete inside the top ten in WorldSBK this year at the very least. With good potential and a package that has done well at Donington Park in past years, it’s a good chance for Ray to show his potential on a circuit he knows.
Getting down to business in the morning and opting to stay inside the box during the even tricker FP2 session, Ray set 16 laps and was less than half a second away from Jonathan Rea’s (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) top time and was looking strong to finish as the second Yamaha on the opening day. A best time of a 1’28.057s means that whilst Ray will have time to find in normal dry conditions, it was very impressive during tricky conditions.
Speaking about a strong first day at his home round, Ray said: “It was a very good day; obviously, coming to Donington Park, it’s the only UK round, and I know this track very, very well. It was nice that in FP1, I knew where I was going and I could get up to speed very quickly. The bike felt very good, we did a lot of work throughout the race weekend at Misano and we seem to have carried the momentum forward here. It’s nice to be in the mix with the top guys, I feel like it is where we can be and we just need to carry the momentum to tomorrow. We have a good package, we’ll do some work tonight with the team and go into tomorrow in a good way.”
Donington Park has been a happy hunting ground for Ray during his BSB years, with his first win in the class coming in 2018 in freezing cold weather, before he doubled up to lead the Championship for the first time. Ray also got points in his WorldSBK wildcard later in that year, whilst he won at the track in his BSB title season last year which was aboard Yamaha machinery.
“I want to be able to be in the top ten in the races. I need a strong Superpole on Saturday, as that’s very important! I’ve learnt that coming into World Superbike, that the Superpole is so, so important to make the outcome of your race better. I need to concentrate on getting some strong laps in during Superpole. Then, we’ll try and stick in with the top ten and try and get the best finish of the year at Donington Park.”
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