BRAD RAY MAKES HIS MARK
2018 COULD BE A career-defining season for British Superbike star Bradley Ray. Despite being a Red Bull Rookies race winner, he was exiled from the MotoGP paddock in 2014, and was in danger of becoming yet another British talent for whom the right breaks didn’t materialise. His career has come full circle in the last 12 months and the 21-year-old is in demand once again: a notable performance at Suzuka only amplified talk of Ray as being a Superbike star of the future.
Ray partnered ex-WSB champ and Suzuki MotoGP test rider Sylvain Guintoli in the Yoshimura Suzuki effort, but Ray was given the honour of finishing the 8 Hours: the traditional reward of being a team’s star turn. Having taken over from Guintoli, following the Frenchman’s early crash, Suzuki had their work cut out for themselves as they worked back up through the field, to an eventual 1oth place at the flag. Ray’s speed on Bridgestone tyres in the wet and dry impressed, and with Suzuki’s MotoGP project leader (and project chief for the GSX-R) Shinichi Sahara on hand. It was clear that Ray impressed the right people.
“It was very special to race at Suzuka,” said Ray. “It was a target of mine all year to race there but I thought getting on a satellite bike was the most likely option. It was massive for me to be asked to ride with a factory team. To be involved with the Japanese engineers and for them to trust me so much means a lot. There’s no race like Suzuka and to have the boss of Suzuki’s GP project happy with everything definitely doesn’t do you any harm for the future!”
‘To have Suzuki’s MotoGP boss happy with everything doesn’t do you any harm for the future’
British Superbikes star was honoured to take the factory Suzuki berth