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Bradley Ray, Suzuki and the WorldSBK opportunity that got away…

Bradley Ray, Hawk Racing, Suzuki GSX-R1000R, 2018 WorldSBK, Donington Park, action [credit - Gold & Goose]

Bradley Ray has revealed he almost had the opportunity to step up into the WorldSBK Championship back in 2019 amid a push to lure Suzuki back onto the international stage.

The Kent rider, who made his WorldSBK debut with Motoxracing Yamaha this season after winning the 2022 British Superbike Championship title, began his Superbike career with Suzuki in BSB in 2017 at 19-years old.

Going on to take centre stage with the UK factory-supported Hawk Racing team in 2018, two wins and a run to the Title Showdown would see Ray’s stock soar within the Suzuki fold, a rising star status that paved the way for him to test its GSV-RR MotoGP bike the following year.


“The MotoGP bike was incredible, a sort of well done for the season in 2018,” he told BSN. “I got the chance to ride at Sepang and it was a dream come true. It was just perfect, and thanks to Hawk and Suzuki for allowing me to ride that.”

Bradley Ray, Suzuki Ecstar, MotoGP, action, MotoGP test, Suzuki GSV-RR [credit - Suzuki Racing]

It also led to an approach by Dorna to convince Suzuki to make a return to the WorldSBK Championship with Ray riding a Hawk Racing-prepared GSX-R1000R

However, though Dorna lobbied Suzuki to offer up a degree of factory support to Hawk Racing, the uncertainty would ultimately convince Ray and Hawk Racing to remain in BSB.

“The WorldSBK job was always semi on the cards but it was difficult because Suzuki wasn’t in WorldSBK so it would have been a big effort to get myself there,” he continued.

Ray would go on to spend just one more season in the Suzuki stable before switching to BMW-machinery, first with TAS Racing and then with OMG Racing. 

A move inspired by a desire to make a more seamless transition to WorldSBK, Ray eventually got his wish upon OMG’s switch to Yamaha machinery and his romp to the 2022 BSB title.

“That was another thing for me to explain why I left Suzuki because I wanted to find another bike that had a team in WorldSBK and BSB, so it gave me a stepping stone. 

“That was my goal with moving to BMW at the time, but then a few things were said that they said were going to get done that didn’t get done, bits and bobs… 

“But now I have the big opportunity in Yamaha - they have a lot of faith in me and I have a lot of faith in Yamaha, so I am happy I have finally got a shot, an opportunity to showcase myself in the World Championship.”


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