Crash.net: With the recent news about the BSB calendar update and the start of the season pushed back to June 25th in order for fans to attend, what are your thoughts about it and how great would it be to have fans trackside again in 2021? 

Bradley Ray: Yeah I think it would be nice. Running last year with no crowds was quite different, that’s the first it happened. It would be great to bring the fans back and for them to see a full season, instead of us starting the season without them and then having the unknown of when or if they can come and watch. I think BSB has made a good decision to start it a little bit later so that we can have crowds all year, which would be great for them and for us. 

Crash.net: As you mentioned it would be great to have them there, so I wanted to know compared to other sports, say for example football where fans are so involved and so close to the action, whereas for you with the engine noise and perhaps not hearing them as much, how different was it for you last year? 

Bradley Ray: I think it was just a bit strange you know. When you have a victory or a podium and finish the race, to then turn around with nobody in the grandstands it just feels a little bit different. 

Bradley Ray: So it would be great to have them back and see all the supporters there watching you and just having your back really. It would be nice to see the grandstands full and hearing all the cheering and have the atmosphere back. 

Crash.net: Looking ahead to this year, you are going into your second year with BMW, but with a new team in RICH Energy OMG Racing. How much are you looking forward to the new BMW M 1000 RR? 

Bradley Ray: Yeah I can’t wait! The BMW last year was nice to obviously change manufacturers. I made the change last year, not at the wrong point, but it seemed like last year BMW maybe struggled compared to other manufacturers, so I think with them bringing out a new M Sport bike this year shows they are keen to up their game a little bit. 

Bradley Ray: I think they really want to put everything into it, and not just in BSB, but also World Superbike. So yeah I’m looking forward to jumping on the new M Sport bike and just comparing it to the old bike and seeing what improvements have been made. Hearing from the World Superbike boys in testing, I think the bike has made a massive step forward. 

Crash.net: How has your training gone this off-season so far, and in what ways have you been affected by the global situation? 

Bradley Ray: Yeah training has been affected. In the UK there are no places open to ride motocross or supermoto currently, so it’s taken away from the riding time, and with track days too, as you always try to get some track days in before the season starts. 

Bradley Ray: So It’s mostly been about keeping physically fit. I do quite a bit of cycling for that and then just as much home gym work as you can to be physically fit. By the time the season comes around I think all the motocross tracks will be open and so will track days, so it’s almost a case of ticking over and keeping your fitness levels at the highest they can be. 

Bradley Ray: When everything opens, then it will be a case of just digging in and getting into the best shape you are normally in by the time the season starts. I’m looking forward to jumping on a motocross bike and getting some training in. 

Crash.net: You mentioned World Superbike, was that one of the big factors of joining RICH Energy OMG Racing, as there is a pathway to WorldSBK and is that the progression you are aiming for yourself? 

Bradley Ray: Absolutely, that is the main objective to move up into the world championship, whether that is in MotoGP or World Superbikes. I would like to have that opportunity to make that next step from BSB, and I think the OMG team is a really good team and platform to make that happen. 

Bradley Ray: And who knows, with the ambition they have, they might even want to think about their own World Superbike team at some stage, or a few wildcards and see how it goes. Obviously with BMW in World Superbike that’s a good base to go from and if the results in BSB come along well then that might be a platform to move up. 

Bradley Ray: That’s always the advantage of being with a manufacturer that is in BSB and World Superbike, and I think that is what I lacked in Suzuki. Just having that progression route into WorldSBK. 

Crash.net: Just to revisit your time with Suzuki. You obviously had a test on the Suzuki MotoGP bike and did the Suzuka 8 hours with them. How did those experiences help you as a rider as having that experience with a MotoGP bike is something most BSB riders can’t say they’ve had? 

Bradley Ray: Yeah exactly, that’s one thing about Suzuki, is that they were very loyal and gave me a lot of those opportunities and extras if you like. To be able to do the 8 hour event and also test a MotoGP bike, which was just phenomenal to have that opportunity. 

Bradley Ray: It was nice to do all those little extras and was a massive help in my career. As a kid you dream to swing your leg over a MotoGP bike one day, so it was an incredible experience.

Crash.net: Finally, what are your expectations and goals heading into this season?

Bradley Ray: Expectations and goals, I mean I had a couple of difficult years. The back-end of 2019 was tough and last year wasn’t the easiest year with the lack of bike time not helping on a new bike. 

Bradley Ray: And with an injury halfway through the year and a couple of DNF’s it wasn’t ideal. So this season I’m hoping to be back where I can and should be. I’d like to fight for podiums and wins at every round we go too, and they are bringing the showdown back this year, so the goal is to be consistent and be in the showdown and then be as strong as possible. 

 

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