Ray on Assen as his season gets underway: "We can look at fighting in the top ten…"

Wednesday, 19 April 2023 13:21 GMT

The British rookie knows the TT Circuit Assen as he looks for a solid result ahead of his first WorldSBK round of 2023

The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship returns to action at the TT Circuit Assen and the Pirelli Dutch Round marks the start of the campaign for Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) as he embarks on his first campaign in the Championship. Assen will mark his first round with Yamaha machinery in WorldSBK as he jumps onboard the Yamaha YZF-R1 machine for 2023 as he prepares to compete in the European rounds in 2023.

Although two rounds of WorldSBK have been completed, Ray did not take part in Australia and Indonesia with him and the team competing in the European rounds this season. It means Ray’s season starts at Assen, but the team have been getting valuable mileage under their belts with Ray during test, although these have come with disruptions. He tested at Jerez at the end of January, Aragon in March where he had technical issues and Barcelona, also in March, where a crash on Day 2 interrupted his running.

Despite some disruptions in testing, Ray, speaking at the Catalunya test at the end of March, was optimistic heading into the Dutch Round. He said: “I’m feeling good. It’ll be nice to go to Assen, into a full race weekend, and understand the way it all goes and get my first race under my belt. You always want to win, don’t you? That’s the trouble! We’ve got to be realistic. I think we can look at fighting in the top ten. I know who the people are around me that I need to be fighting with and I think it’ll be difficult in the first round. I need to get more time under my belt with the bike. Going into an actual race weekend will be different. I think we can definitely learn a lot more there and get some races under our belt, understand the package more and I think we can do a very good job from maybe mid-season onwards; we can start pushing to where we need to be. Just steady away until we find our feet. A little bit nervous but in a good way. I’m excited.”

The Dutch Round will mark Ray’s first race since his season in the British Superbike championship ended in October which culminated with him being crowned champion. He was also riding a Yamaha YZF-R1 in Britain but with different specifications to the WorldSBK machine primarily on the electronics side of things. Ray’s testing has been about getting up to speed with the new electronics in order to be in the best possible shape heading into Assen.

Assen is a circuit Ray knows from his time in BSB when the championship visited the Netherlands between 2017 and 2019. He raced there six times in those three years, taking a best result of sixth place in 2017. He has finished in the top ten there on five occasions with his only race not in the top ten in 2018, in the first race, when he was 17th.

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