BSB: Ray confident after qualifying gains

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Bradley Ray came out of nowhere to take pole position in this afternoon’s Bennetts British Superbike qualifying after the Buildbase Suzuki squad reverted his GSX-R1000 to a configuration that worked earlier in the season.

Ray was just 11th quickest on Friday as he evaluated the Yoshimura factory-spec swinging arm the Buildbase squad had initially tested in their World Superbike wildcard at Donington Park, but he was unable to find a strong enough feeling over Snetterton’s bumps.

Switching back to the standard swinging arm this morning, Ray was fifth quickest in FP3 but found 1.4 seconds in the final stage of qualifying to nab pole from McAMS Yamaha’s Josh Brookes.

“In qualifying you sort of grit your teeth and do the best lap you can,” he said after the session. “I’d done two 1’47.5s and I knew that wouldn’t be enough for pole as in Q2 I’d gone quicker. I knew I had one last chance to improve my lap time so I just braked as late as I could in every corner and hit every apex and luckily it was a fairly strong lap.

“Shakey did a 1’46.0 last year so I wasn’t too sure if it would be pole or not but I knew it was a strong time, it was the best I had on the day and if the others could beat it fair play to them. It’ll be a difficult race, but we’ve had good pace all year. I need to try and stay out of trouble in the early laps, use my head and be consistent and we should be OK.

“We did a run this morning to test race pace and found we were looking pretty good, we tested both rear tyre options so depending on the weather tomorrow we’ll see which tyre to use.

“We tried the factory swing arm at Donington and we tried it again here but it just needs a little bit more time. On a race weekend it’s difficult to develop parts like that, so we stuck the standard arm back in this morning and straightaway I was where I needed to be with the bike working like it was earlier in the year.” 

Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

Former sports reporter covering British Superbikes, World Superbikes and road racing