Bradley Ray in dominant form ahead of Oulton BSB qualifying

Bradley Ray topped the opening day of BSB action at Oulton Park after setting a new all-time lap record in FP1.
Bradley Ray, Yamaha British Superbike Oulton Park
Bradley Ray, Yamaha British Superbike Oulton Park

Ray, who showed great form on his Yamaha debut at Silverstone, looked just as impressive during day-one at Oulton Park as he aims to win his first BSB race in four years.

With Jason O’Halloran completing the treble during the championship’s first of two Oulton Park rounds last season, many would have expected the McAMS Yamaha rider to possibly lead the way, but the Australian was instead over six tenths off his fellow Yamaha rider. 

In fact, only Lee Jackson could get close to Ray's new lap record - the Kawasaki rider finished +0.163s down. 

Outside of that, gaps were pretty significant and very different to what we witnessed at Silverstone. The season opener saw around 23/24 riders within a second in every session, but come the end of day-one at Oulton, only seven riders were within a second of Ray. 

The last of those was Buildbase Suzuki rider Christian Iddon in eighth, as the former Ducati rider was nine tenths off. 

Christian Iddon Suzuki British Superbike Oulton
Christian Iddon Suzuki British Superbike Oulton

New BSB lap record a ‘surprise’, didn’t attempt a time attack

Given the fact Ray set a new lap record, you would assume the Yamaha rider was pushing flat out to do so. 

But that was not the case: "It has been a good day to be fair! I was quite surprised with the fastest lap to be honest. Obviously, we did the fastest lap in testing last week, but we didn’t really expect to be straight out on the money, breaking the lap record in FP1, but I felt really good.

"We tried a few things in FP2 with the bike, but we didn’t really do any sort of time attack or anything like that as the weather was a bit iffy, but all in all I am very happy.

"I think we’ve got a good base for the bike now and we can work with that going into tomorrow’s free practice, qualifying and race."

Tarran Mackenzie misses out, title defence in tatters? 

Hoping to get his season underway after missing round one, reigning champion Tarran Mackenzie elected to skip this weekend after medical advice indicated a return would be too soon. 

Following a late check before FP1, the Yamaha rider was therefore resigned to watching from the McAMS garage as his attempts of retaining the British Superbike title are in real danger. 

"It’s obviously a shame not to be riding today but we knew it was going to be a long shot," added Mackenzie. 

"I went to see the medical team this morning and their advice was that it’s probably just a bit too soon. There are two weekends off before Donington so that’s three weeks of extra rehabilitation, so I’ll now turn my focus to coming back there as strong as I can."

In terms of Mackenzie’s team-mate O’Halloran, the 11-time race winner in 2021 is feeling a lot more comfortable with his R1 than Silverstone, however, afternoon rain affected his progress.

Jason O'Halloran Yamaha British Superbike Oulton
Jason O'Halloran Yamaha British Superbike Oulton

O’Halloran said: "It’s been a good day, the direction in which we’ve gone with the bike is definitely better and we’ve been able to work through a couple of things which look promising. 

"I actually felt better on the bike in FP2, but then the rain came which meant we couldn’t really see where we were but it’s the same for everyone! Hopefully the weather stays OK for tomorrow and we’ll give it a good go."

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