Brad Ray has set himself a target of fighting for podiums ahead of his second season in the WorldSBK Championship with independent Yamaha outfit, Motoxracing.
The 2022 British Superbike Champion will embark on his first full WorldSBK season comprising 12 events this year after being consigned to a limited nine-round campaign in 2023 as a consequence of Motoxracing’s limited budget.
The restrictions meant Ray was forced to wait until Round 3 at Assen to make his WorldSBK debut with the Italian team, leaving him on the back foot initially relative to rivals.
Nevertheless, a breakthrough performance at Imola - which saw him qualify fifth in Superpole and achieve both his and the team’s best ever WorldSBK result of sixth in Race 2 - demonstrated Ray’s world championship potential and would duly convince Motoxracing to retain him for 2024.
With the benefit of experience now on his side, Ray is confident he can get his head down and be in a position to fight for lofty results, including podiums.
“We have to start again from the results we achieved last year and I have pretty high expectations of myself for this season,” Ray told GPOne during Motoxracing Yamaha’s 2024 WorldSBK team presentation on Friday.
“I think we will be able to do a really great job. We will be competing in one more race but there are also two new tracks for everyone [Cremona, Balaton Park].
“The level of the championship is higher than ever, so it will be difficult and we will have to work hard, but I think it is possible to get on the podium.
“If everything goes well, with this team and my talent, there’s no reason why we can’t fight up there.”
Reflecting on the challenges of his compromised maiden WorldSBK season, Ray - who’d go on to miss a fourth event at Most too after opting to undergo surgery on his shoulder prior to the summer break - felt he held his own against difficult competition in what was always going to be a difficult initiation.
“It was a good season, difficult at times,” he continued. “But I think there are always difficult times in WorldSBK, especially with the level it has now reached.
“There is a big difference between [the bikes in] BSB and WorldSBK, in terms of the electronics, so I had to learn to ride a different way and adapt my riding style.
“I had to learn so many things, such as the tracks, the bike with its electronics and also how to work with an Italian team.
“There were difficult times but overall we made progress and achieved good results.”