2023 will see Ray’s highly anticipated move to the world stage take place
With the 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship done and dusted and locked away in the history books, attention turns to 2023 and there’ll be a new name on the grid. Reigning British Superbike champion Bradley Ray will join the WorldSBK grid as part of the Motoxracing Yamaha WorldSBK Team, competing in the European rounds of the year, thus meaning that his season will start at the iconic TT Circuit Assen in the Netherlands in April. Ray stormed to success in 2022 when he took the Rich Energy OMG UK Racing Team to the BSB title in just their fifth season in the paddock. Ray clinched the title aboard the Yamaha R1 and he’ll continue his partnership with the Japanese brand into World Superbike.
Ray’s career started on minibikes and he was the Fab Racing champion before jumping aboard bigger bikes, where – in 2012 – he finished as runner-up in the British Motostar series. Also raced in the Red Bull Rookies Cup, taking a first podium at Silverstone and a first pole at Misano. In 2013, he took a first win as he won the first race of the year and indeed, the first ever motorcycle race at the Circuit of the Americas; 2021 WorldSBK Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu finished third in the race, whilst 2020 MotoGP™ World Champion Joan Mir was ninth.
Three more podiums in the class came in 2014 but he was unable to break into the Grand Prix paddock; he went back to the UK where he won in the Moto3 class, whilst a year later, he took third in the British Supersport series, winning six of the last ten races in the class, which was won by Tarran Mackenzie. Ray moved up to BSB in 2017 aboard a Hawk Racing Suzuki GSXR-1000RR, the first year of the new model. He was a top ten competitor in just his fourth race before a stunning first podium in the class at Oulton Park confirmed Ray as one of the UK’s most exciting prospects. In 2018, he remained with Suzuki and took a dominant double win at the season-opening Donington Park round, on his way to sixth overall. In 2018, Ray also made his WorldSBK debut, with two strong points-scoring rides as a wildcard at Donington Park on a BSB-spec bike.
Two tricky seasons followed for Ray; in 2019, he remained with Suzuki but only achieved two podiums, whilst in 2020, he joined the SYNETIQ BMW TAS family, but finished in 13th overall. A switch to OMG Racing in 2021 saw Ray return to something of his former self when he was back on the podium, whilst 2022 saw the team switch to Yamaha machinery where Ray took to the R1 like a duck to water. Nine wins, 23 podiums, three poles and 11 fastest laps saw Ray crowned champion at his home circuit of Brands Hatch in Kent, taking Alan Gardner’s OMG Racing outfit to the top. Ray’s talent and potential impressed a lot, with Sandro Carusi – team principal of the Motoxracing Yamaha WorldSBK Team – signing him up for his first season in WorldSBK.
Speaking about the move up to WorldSBK, Ray was ecstatic: “After what's been an incredible debut year with Yamaha in the UK delivering nine wins and 23 podiums in part one of my career quest to become British Superbike champion, I'm absolutely delighted that Yamaha have rewarded me with this opportunity to take the next step with the Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team. I've dreamed of being World Superbike Champion since my race debut at three years old and I'm only too aware that it wouldn’t be possible without the support of a manufacturer like Yamaha and the team I have around me. I'm very keen to get started in WorldSBK and hope to follow in the footsteps of many of the successful Brits in the Championship. It's time to take aim for that next title, step by step!”
Sandro Carusi also shared Ray’s excitement and is looking forward to a strong season in 2023: “I’m very pleased to welcome Bradley to our team and appreciate that Yamaha has chosen us to follow him as he makes his WorldSBK debut. I’m sure that we can do a great job together. I want to thank Yamaha for the support and particularly for the faith put in us after just one year in WorldSBK.”
Speaking of the new signing for WorldSBK, Andrea Dosoli, Yamaha Motor Europe’s Road Racing Manager, said: “Yamaha is fully committed to giving our riders from the national championships the opportunity to race on the world championship stage. After an incredible first season on the R1 in British Superbikes, Bradley has shown that he fully deserves his spot on the WorldSBK grid in 2023. We’ve seen over the years that he has fantastic race craft and consistency that allowed him to win the title this year. We are sure that he will be able to adapt quickly, as he has been able to throughout his career so far. The Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team are sure to give him the best possible chance to challenge for strong results.”
Ray is the 20th rider to join the 2023 WorldSBK line-up and is the fifth rookie confirmed on the grid, alongside GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team’s Remy Gardner and Dominique Aegerter, GMT94 Yamaha’s Lorenzo Baldassarri and the BARNI Spark Racing Team’s multiple Grand Prix winner Danilo Petrucci. The 25-year-old British rider is also the sixth rider confirmed for Yamaha is represents the manufacturer’s fifth different nationality in their 2023 line-up, after Turkey, Italy, Australia and Switzerland.
Get ready for 2023 and enjoy all the full races back in style from 2022 with the WorldSBK VideoPass!