Six-time BSB Champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne has tipped Bradley Ray to make an impression on his debut in the WorldSBK Championship as he prepares to make his debut on the international stage at Assen.
The 25-year old graduates to the WorldSBK Championship this season, participating in the European-based rounds with the privateer Motoxracing Yamaha squad, after clinching the 2022 British Superbike Championship on the RICH Energy OMG Yamaha.
Save for a wild-card outing with Suzuki in 2018, this will be Ray’s first season in an FIM-sanctioned World Championship.
Though he'll be starting the season later than his rivals, Ray's mentor and manager Byrne - who competed in WorldSBK with Sterilgarda Ducati and Althea Ducati in 2009 and 2010 - is confident his protege is up for the challenge ahead.
“He’s taking a big step up into WorldSBK. It’s a tough Championship. That group from fourth to 15th is like Moto2, it’s so tight and so competitive. It’s not going to be easy; it’s going to be a baptism of fire. He’s not the British Superbike champion for no reason.
“He gelled with the Yamaha from the fast laps he got on it and hopefully he’ll gel with the WorldSBK spec one.
"Hopefully he’ll come here on a really good bike, the Yamaha, with a good team who had a good year last year; done their apprenticeship if you like.
“They’re as ready as we are to step up and try to put themselves on the map.”
Ray’s debut at Assen - round three of the 2023 WorldSBK Championship - comes after completing a two-day test at Aragon, the Kent rider lapping just over two seconds off the ultimate pace set by Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea.
Experienced in Superstock and CIV competition, the Italian-based Motoxracing team made its full WorldSBK debut in 2022 with Roberto Tamburini.