Ray adapts to WorldSBK at Portimao - ‘It’s an eye-opener!’| Christina Bulpett | WorldSBK
Reigning BSB Champion Bradley Ray took his first laps on the world stage as WorldSBK testing hit Portimao this week.
Ray joins the Motoxracing Yamaha team for the 2023 Superbike World Championship’s European season, so while the 25-year-old may have missed out on two days at Jerez last week, he has plenty of time to get up to speed on his WorldSBK-spec R1 ahead of April’s visit to Assen.
“Feeling really good,” Ray told Bikesportnews.com after his debut day. “Just going through the first day of testing - the process of setting foot pegs and handlebars and brake levers. Learning the electronics was the biggest thing for me today and then obviously being back on the bike since the last round of Brands last year.
“We’ve been doing a bit of supermoto riding but yeah, first time back on a bike, first time with the team, so big learning day but got through quite a lot and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.
“It’s an eye-opener!” Ray continued after his first touch at Portimao’s technical Algarve Circuit. “Obviously most of them were testing last week at Jerez so they’re up to speed.
“Coming straight to Portimao on a new bike, with a new team and not ridden for a long time was difficult but no, I felt good straightaway.
“I feel comfortable on the bike. Just going through the process of learning the electronics, a few different things on the bike to what I ran last year, but yeah, it’s just nice to be back on the bike, back into the swing of things. The boys are obviously fast straightaway so we’ve got a bit of time to find but it will come with time.
“I think at the minute is just an all round, everything,” he said of the learning curve ahead of him. “There’s not one specific thing that I’m working on. It’s just bike time for me. Getting back up to speed in myself, getting myself comfortable with the bike and also obviously learning the electronics, learning the traction control and understanding what I need from the electronics to improve me as a rider and to improve the package. It’s just a lot of stuff to take in on day one, a lot to work on. I’m looking forward to the next step, obviously learning more about the bike and hopefully chipping away at the laptime.”
With just under three months before his first race in anger, the British rider is determined to utilise the time well before his season finally kicks off, even if he would love to be heading to Australia with the remainder of the paddock in a fortnight’s time.
“Yeah it would be nice!” Ray admitted with a smile. “The track looks unbelievable. Everyone I spoke to said it’s an incredible track to ride so we just have to make sure I do a good job this year and come out the next year.
“We’ve got a couple of tests planned before the first round. I’m not sure where, I think one of them might be Aragon, and possibly Misano as well. So be ideal for me to do that and see how we go.”