Team Suzuki Press Office – April 19.

The Buildbase Suzuki team has launched its 2019 Bennetts British Superbike Championship campaign as the season got underway on the Silverstone National Circuit, in the UK, this weekend.

After a productive winter testing programme onboard his GSX-R1000R Superbike, Bradley Ray – now in his third year with the team – is looking to start 2019 as he began last season. The 21-year-old was a double-winner at the season-opener of 2018, and has form at Silverstone, qualifying on pole last year.

While Ray spent the winter helping further develop the GSX-R1000R in Superbike trim, his new teammate Luke Stapleford focussed on acclimatising himself with his new machine, making steady progress with pace and setup. He ended last week’s Silverstone test with the fifth quickest time.

Richard Cooper also begins his third year on GSX-R1000R machinery, and for 2019 has his sights set firmly on the National Superstock 1000 Championship crown. The experienced Nottinghamshire racer and former Superstock champion finished runner-up in the series with Suzuki in 2017 and was also the runaway winner of the final BSB race of 2018. Despite a competitive field, he is eyeing wins right away.

Bradley Ray:

“Testing’s one thing, and it’s important and it gives us a lot of information that helps us improve the bike, but going racing is why we do what we do, and I’m keen to get going now. We’ve had quite a bit of work to do over the winter with some new components to test back-to-back, but as we all know, you don’t just bolt something in and off you go. You’re then making other adjustments to work with the new part to come to a proper conclusion. It’s been hard work but it’s that work which will hopefully make the difference this weekend. We’ve got some work to do to dial-in our base setting, but like everyone else, we just want to get going for real now.”

Luke Stapleford:

“This is the bit that matters now but I’m going into the weekend feeling good and feeling comfortable. As I think I said when I signed for the team, we’ve not set any specific targets as such, and I’m going into the season realistic as it’s a competitive field from front to back, but at the same time my goal is to get to the front. That’s where I want to be, and I know the team and the bike can be up there. Whether that will happen this weekend, or the next round, or halfway through the season, I don’t know, but I’ll be trying to get there as soon as possible. We’re coming into the weekend off the back of a good winter; I’ve managed to get a good number of laps in and we’ve steadily worked on our setup and making little improvements in each area, so hopefully it’ll come together this weekend and we can start the year strongly.”

Richard Cooper:

“I don’t think we could be any readier to go into the first round to be honest. In Superstock spec, the bike’s been refined and refined, and this winter we’ve not really had to change anything, just get some miles under our belts and make little adjustments to setup, and we ended the Silverstone test under the National Circuit lap record. We know we’re going into the year with a competitive package and the target is the championship. That said, it’s not going to be easy and there’s plenty of competition in the championship this year, but hopefully, with the team’s development of the bike and my experience, we’re in a good place to start the year on the front foot. The GSX-R1000R has been runner-up twice now, so I hope we can deliver Suzuki the championship this year.”

For more stories about Richard Cooper, Click Here. For photos, Click Here.

For more stories about Bradley Ray, Click Here. For photos, Click Here.

For more stories about Luke Stapleford, Click Here. For photos, Click Here.

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