Team Suzuki Press Office – March 30.

The Buildbase Suzuki team is set for the opening round of the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Championship this weekend at Donington Park in the UK.

After a 12-months development und with the new GSX-R1000, Richard Cooper and Bradley Ray will be aiming to start their seasons strongly in BSB, while Billy McConnell joins the team and will lead the charge in the National Superstock 1000 series.

Cooper narrowly missed out on the Superstock 1000 Championship with the all-new GSX-R1000 in 2017 - and enjoyed two wildcard rides in BSB towards the end of the season, taking two top-10 finishes at the final round. Now back in the Superbike class full-time, he is looking to form a solid foundation to his season this weekend at Donington Park, with the aim of fighting for a Showdown position during the year.

His team-mate, Ray, joined the Buildbase Suzuki team as a rookie in 2017, finding his feet with the 1000cc machine early in the year, before impressing everyone with a string of strong results, including a podium at Oulton Park. The youngster is looking to continue his development this year and make fighting for podiums a more frequent occurrence throughout 2018.
McConnell returns to racing this season after recovering from injury that saw him sidelined for the second half of the 2017 campaign. The likeable Aussie will pilot the team’s GSX-R1000 Superstock machine and will be looking to hit the ground running this weekend.

Richard Cooper:

“It’s time to stop testing and go and do it for real. It’s nice to be going to Donington for round one, as it’s local to me and I get a lot of support there, so I’m excited to get going now. I had two good rounds on the superbike last year and we’ve set our aims for this season, so hopefully we can pick-up where we left off in 2017 and get two point-scoring races under our belts to get our season off to a good start. I’m looking forward to it.”

Bradley Ray:

“I’m looking forward to getting the season underway and my second year on a Superbike. It was brilliant to get a podium in my debut year last year, and now the aim has got to be to challenge at the front more regularly, try and add to that podium tally, and hopefully get some race wins too. But it’s a long season, it’s important to have a solid round one and go from there.”

Billy McConnell:

“It feels like a long time since I was last doing this, with the injury last year, and I’m just keen to get back racing. It’s been a long winter. But I’ve also had some time to reflect during my time away and it’s made me appreciate my racing more; I’m born-again, almost. I’m feeling really positive in the team and with the bike – which now has had a year’s worth of development and is a strong package – so the plan is to get the ball rolling at Donington, get some good points on the board, hopefully wins, and try and get another championship.”

Steve Hicken - Team Manager:

“I think everyone in the team just wants to get started now. Testing has been good, although the weather didn’t always help things, but we do this to go racing, ultimately. Last season had its challenges as we developed a brand-new motorcycle, but now the aim is to turn the GSX-R1000 into a consistent front-runner, fight for podiums and, hopefully, more wins. The bikes improved throughout the year in 2017, and over winter that work has continued, we’ve received some new parts; and we’re heading to Donington optimistic of making a good start to the new season.”

BSB Practice starts tomorrow (March 31st) with racing on Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday.

BSB Weekend Schedule: CLICK HERE

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