Byrne on Ray’s maiden WorldSBK campaign: "He’s taking a big step up… it’s going to be a baptism of fire"

Thursday, 6 April 2023 08:08 GMT

Bradley Ray will compete in his first WorldSBK campaign in 2023 after securing the British title in 2022 as he steps up with Yamaha


Preparations for Bradley Ray’s (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) maiden MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship campaign are continuing with the British rider taking part in several tests in the off-season. With the team not competing in the flyaway races in Australia and Indonesia, as well as Argentina at the end of the season, Ray has been preparing with several tests around Europe and his manager, Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne, gave his thoughts on the season coming.

Ray’s first test was at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve at the end of January and beginning of February before moving on to MotorLand Aragon in March. The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was Ray’s third port of call as he took part in two more days of action on his Yamaha YZF R1. His test at Aragon was disrupted by a technical issue and a crash in Barcelona but he was still able to get to grips with his WorldSBK-spec R1.

He comes into his maiden WorldSBK campaign on the back of a successful season in his native Britain where he took the British Superbike title when racing with Yamaha machinery and on Pirelli tyres. However, both the bike and tyres were a different spec to those used in WorldSBK with the tests giving Ray his first opportunity to get used to the WorldSBK specifications.

Previewing Ray’s maiden campaign, six-time British champion Byrne said: “He’s taking a big step up into WorldSBK. It’s a tough Championship. That group from fourth to 15th is like Moto2™, it’s so tight and so competitive. It’s not going to be easy; it’s going to be a baptism of fire. He’s not the British Superbike champion for no reason. He gelled with the Yamaha from the fast laps he got on it and hopefully he’ll gel with the WorldSBK spec one. Hopefully he’ll come here on a really good bike, the Yamaha, with a good team who had a good year last year; done their apprenticeship if you like. They’re as ready as we are to step up and try to put themselves on the map.”

Ray’s season will begin at the Dutch Round at the iconic TT Circuit Assen which is a circuit he knows well from his time in the British championship having raced there in 2018. He also has experience of several tracks on the WorldSBK calendar through his time in the Red Bull MotoGP™ Rookies Cup, CEV Moto2™, CEV Moto3™ as well as British Superbike. Ray also has experience of WorldSBK from 2018 when he was a wildcard with Buildbase Suzuki at Donington Park where he scored points in both races.

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