Ray ‘didn’t feel a million miles away’ after making WorldSBK debut in Portimao

One of two WorldSBK rookies making their first appearance of 2023 - the other being MIE Honda rider Eric Granado - Bradley Ray made a solid start aboard the Motoxracing Yamaha as he finished 2.7s down on Michael Ruben Rinaldi.
Bradley Ray, Motoxracing Yamaha WorldSBK 2023
Bradley Ray, Motoxracing Yamaha WorldSBK 2023

After missing out on last week’s opening WorldSBK test of the year, Ray was playing catch-up relative to most other rookies as Remy Gardner, Danilo Petrucci, Dominique Aegerter and Lorenzo Baldassarri also got through extensive testing programs in Jerez.

Despite that, Ray was able to finish ahead of Baldassarri whilst also finishing a second down on the likes of Petrucci and Aegerter. 

Arriving in WorldSBK as the reigning British Superbike champion and one of the most talented rookies in recent years, Ray will have a lot of expectation to do well, and although it remains early, there are clear signs that the Yamaha rider could be one to watch in 2023.


Speaking to WorldSBK.com after his debut, Ray said: "It’s the first time I’ve been on the WorldSBK-spec R1 so, this morning, we went through a lot of things. 

"Setting the foot pegs up, the handlebars, brake positions, things like that; all the little things that you do at the start of a test. We got through all that, but it took a bit of time. 

"Short runs today to get myself comfortable on the bike with my position and today was basically all about learning the electronics, learning the chassis, the bike and obviously working together with the team. Been a busy day. 

"Not as many laps as I probably need at the minute but the laps we did were very valuable. I think we’ve got a lot of work to do tonight. 

"It’s my first time back on a bike since Brands Hatch last year so it was an eye-opener coming back here, on a different spec bike, to Portimao. Happy with day one, we’re not too far away but a lot to work on."

After a tough stint with Suzuki and BMW in BSB, Ray’s switch to Yamaha in 2022 ended up being a perfect combination between rider and bike.

Bradley Ray Yamaha British Superbike Brands Hatch
Bradley Ray Yamaha British Superbike Brands Hatch

In tune with the R1 from the second he got aboard it during pre-season testing, Ray proved to be uncatchable throughout the season.

Having only experienced the R1 in British Superbike-spec before, day-one at Portimao provided Ray with the chance to experience WorldSBK-spec electronics for the first time, which he said is the biggest difference between the two machines.

Ray added: "Most of it is very similar. It’s mainly the electronics package, that’s very different to what we run in the UK and you can do a lot more with traction control, engine braking. 

"It’s a lot to learn for me. It’s all about just finding my feet a bit, understanding what I can do and moving forward with that. 

"Just going to be a busy couple of days getting up to speed and learning the process. I felt comfortable straight away today, didn’t feel a million miles away."

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