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Bradley Ray grabs first BSB win at Donington season-opener

Sunday, April 01 2018

Bradley Ray held on to an early lead in the opening Bennetts British Superbike Championship race at Donington Park today (Sunday) to take his first BSB win - and set himself up in pole position for tomorrow's clash.

Twenty-year-old Ray held his nerve despite late challenges from James Ellison and reigning champion Shane 'Shakey' Byrne to win the race and record the fastest lap time, putting him at the front of the grid for Race 2.

Ray admitted he had a couple of wobbles as he closed in on victory but managed to stay focused to the end.

"The last two laps I was thinking 'this is real now, we've got to try and concentrate and get the job done' and I did make a few mistakes getting a bit excited, but honestly I can't thank the team enough for the effort they put in through the winter and getting the bike set up and changing the areas that I struggled a lot last year, so I'm hoping we can be up with the front boys for the rest of the year and be challenging for podiums more often," he said.

"It was just an unbelievable feeling to cross the line first, and to lead that many laps with a fairly good pace was quite good and an eye-opener for us and the team."

Champion Byrne was slow away from the line, despite starting in the front row, as his bike pulled a wheelie and he lost places to a raft of other riders. And Leon Haslam, who came out on top after yesterday's second practice session, set the early pace before falling behind and eventually finishing ninth.

Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Donington Park, Race 1:

  1. Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki)
  2. Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) +0.383s
  3. James Ellison (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) +0.721s
  4. Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing) +3.174s
  5. Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +4.430s
  6. Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) +4.671s
  7. Jason O'Halloran (Honda Racing) +6.191s
  8. Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) +8.822s
  9. Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +13.792s
  10. Michael Laverty (Tyco BMW) +14.224s 

Tomorrow's track action at Donington Park starts at 11.15, with BSB warm-up at 13.00 followed by Race 2 at 16.30. Adult gate admission is reduced to £28 - full details here.