The British Superbike grid is being confirmed for next year, as Bradley Ray stays with Buildbase Suzuki for the 2019 BSB series. The 21-year-old rider from Kent has taken two race wins to secure a place in the end-of-season Showdown in 2018. And it means he will stay with the team, and the Suzuki GSX-R1000, for a third year in a row.
It’s been a mixed season for the Lydd-based rider with two wins at the opening British Superbike round at Donington. He’s racked up three more podiums, but suffered some non-finishes in the middle of the season. Currently sixth in the standings going into the triple-race final weekend at Brands Hatch, Ray can at least focus on the track action knowing his place is secure for 2019.
Ray made his debut in the British Superbike class with Buildbase Suzuki, taking a podium in his first year. It followed several seasons in the MotoGP Rookies Cup, British MotoStar championship, and in the CEV Moto3 series. In 2016 he took third in the British Supersport championship before moving to the top national class.
2018 saw Ray take part in the Suzuka 8-Hour race with Yoshimura Suzuki. And the team were able to recover to 10th overall, after dropping to 48th due to a crash. He also appeared as a wildcard for his first outing in World Superbikes at Donington Park, taking 14th and 15 place finishes.
Bradley Ray said, “I’m really happy to be staying with the team and with Suzuki for another year. I’ve got a great relationship with everyone and we enjoy working together, and that should only give us a head-start next season. This year was only my second year on a superbike and the second year of development for the new GSX-R, and we’ve won races, been on the podium, and made it into the Showdown, so we can only be happy with that, and I’m confident that will continue next season. It was good to have everything signed and agreed nice and early. We’ve now got one round to go and I can focus on my riding and to try to finish the season strongly at Brands.”
Buildbase Suzuki team manager, Steve Hicken, added, “Continuing our association with Bradley next season is really important for us. Like many, we recognised his talent early on, and when he was in the supersport class two years ago we wanted to get him onto a superbike as soon as possible. He’s one of the most natural young talents in the country, so of course we’re really excited to be able to announce that he’ll again be on a Buildbase Suzuki GSX-R1000R for a third season in 2019. While we’ve got one round to go and are aiming to finish the season strongly, having everything signed and confirmed means we’ll be going into the winter with a clear focus on building for a title assault next year.”
The full line-up for Buildbase Suzuki in 2019 hasn’t been confirmed yet. Current team-mate Richard Cooper is making his debut at the Sunflower Trophy at Bishopscourt in Northern Ireland this year for the team. The races traditionally end the Irish season, and occur on the weekend following the end of the British Superbike season.