Sunshine and Fast Times at Oulton Park

The final official Bennetts British Superbike test of 2022 took place in perfect conditions Oulton Park yesterday as the RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha team completed their test program in style. Brad Ray posted the fastest time of the day around the undulating rollercoaster of a circuit nestled in the heart of leafy Cheshire as the only rider to lap in the 1m 33s bracket to end a positive day for both riders. Team-mate, Kyle Ryde, at one of his least favourite circuits made a big step forward in the afternoon sessions, matching his qualifying time from the opening round of 2021.

After a successful opening round at Silverstone the pair were confident of a strong showing at the test and although the early showings for Nottinghamshire’s Ryde were not where he wanted to be however, he worked closely on the set-up of his Yamaha R1 with his crew chief Ryan Saxelby and the fruits of their toils were there to see, posting the fifth-fastest time of the final session. Ryde insists there is more to come from both rider and machine and is excited to return to the circuit next week for Round 2.
Brad Ray, buoyed by last week’s double podium, dominated the test day by topping the second and third sessions at a circuit he really enjoys. The Kent rider is riding a crest of confidence aboard his Yamaha R1 alongside crew chief, Dave Harris, and is eager to return to Cheshire where, like Silverstone last week, he knows he has a very good chance of taking his first BSB win since 2018.

Roads pair Davo Johnson and James Hillier were also in attendance at the test, working through a testing plan on the Yamaha R6 Supersport and Yamaha R1 Superstock machines as the Road Racing season draws ever closer. The pair swapped between machines across the day to extract the best out of each package in their first opportunity to ride the bikes ahead of the NW200 that begins in two weeks’ time. Hillier and Johnson hadn’t ridden the circuit in a number of years although the Aussie has fond memories of the circuit as the scene of his first UK race and first win on British soil.
Chloe Jones experienced Oulton Park for the first time aboard her Yamaha R6 and was pleasantly surprised with her results. Having only ridden the demanding circuit on a Yamaha R3 previously, the 18-year-old from Daventry took the step up to the Yamaha R6 in her stride. Focusing on learning the circuit on a more powerful motorcycle, Jones improved her initial lap time by over four seconds as the flag dropped on her final session of the day.
Brad Ray: “It has been a very productive day to be fair. It is the first time I have ridden the Yamaha here, although we have been to Silverstone and Snetterton, which are a flatter style circuit, so we have worked through a lot today. “We have worked hard on improving the package and understand what we need to do, and we found a fairly sweet spot on my RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha R1 towards the end of the day. “We still have some work to do coming into the race weekend, but overall, I am happy, and the lap time was really good at the end. I am feeling comfortable, and we have just been keeping the momentum going from Silverstone, so I am looking forward to coming back for the race next weekend.”

Kyle Ryde: “It’s been a really good day in the sunshine, we didn’t arrive here with a plan I just wanted to get accustomed to the circuit on my RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha R1. It’s never really been a decent track for me, but we made a big step this afternoon to lap comfortably in the 1m 34s.
It was a shame at the end on new tyres as we couldn’t show our true potential due to riders messing about on track. Both bikes are quick and hopefully either Brad or myself will be number one next weekend.”