BSB: Ray and Cooper head up official Suzuki effort
Bradley Ray and Richard Cooper will form Suzuki’s official British Superbike effort in 2018.
Mallory Park-based Hawk Racing will continue to run the factory-backed squad, but, having lost title sponsor Bennetts, they will scale down to just one team next year with two riders in the Superbike class and Australian Billy McConnell in Superstock.
Last year, Bradley Ray stunned in his debut season in the British Superbike class, often beating Bennetts Suzuki team-mate Sylvain Guintoli, who spent most of the year campaigning superior machinery.
The 20-year-old finished on the podium at Oulton Park, just 0.1 seconds from the lead and will be looking for further podium success this year as he looks to concrete his place at the front of the British Superbike Championship.
“I’m really excited to form part of the official Suzuki team in 2018,” Ray said. “Last year was always going to be a learning year for us and we didn’t expect to do some of the things we did, especially with the podium at Oulton Park!
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“The Suzuki has a lot of potential, so I’m looking forward to heading in to a season where I know what I’m doing having already done 12 rounds on the bike! Having achieved our first podium last year, my goal has to be to run at the front regularly and hopefully start pushing towards our first wins and then we can go from there.”
Joining Ray will be Richard Cooper, who finished second in the Pirelli National Superstock Championship for Hawk Suzuki this year and has been rightfully rewarded with a return to the top class, in which he won a race on BMW machinery in 2016.
“I’m so excited to be a full time BSB rider again, it was a bitter pill to swallow for me moving back to Superstock this year, but looking at the season we had with the new Suzuki GSX-R1000 and the position I’m in now you could say it was a good move,” Cooper said.
“The team now have a year’s development behind the bike and even when they weren’t getting the results they deserved early in the year I knew how much potential the bike had.
“I was lucky enough to do the final two rounds of BSB so I’ve got a very good idea where the bike is compared to other bikes on track. I know teaming up with Brad we can deliver results. I have five BSB podiums to my name and I fully intend to increase that figure in 2018.”