Ray hopes Dixon can open BSB-to-GP doors

Bradley Ray hopes a strong showing by Jake Dixon in Moto2 will help other British Championship riders enter the grand prix paddock.
Ray hopes Dixon can open BSB-to-GP doors

Among those hoping that Jake Dixon can make a strong impression in Moto2 this season is former British Superbike rival Bradley Ray.

Both riders won BSB races last season, Dixon finishing as main title rival for fellow Kawasaki rider Leon Haslam, with Ray sixth overall for Suzuki.

While Haslam becomes the latest BSB rider heading to World Superbikes (again), Dixon has chosen a radically different path by signing for the Angel Nieto Team in Moto2 (pictured).

If it works out, Dixon will be in with the best possible chance of catching the attention of MotoGP teams.

"Not many people have done the step from BSB or a small championship straight to MotoGP," said Ray, speaking after a guest ride on the Suzuki MotoGP bike at Sepang in January.

"I think the MotoGP teams always look for riders to go Moto3-Moto2-MotoGP. That's the route you take. They don't like going outside the paddock to bring someone in, but sometimes you have to take a risk on a good rider.

"So if Jake can go out and start battling at the front, get top tens and prove that he's a good rider then the teams might start looking outside the grand prix paddock and into BSB more."

Ray will remain with Hawk Racing and Suzuki in 2019, but admits his own next step is unclear since Suzuki does not currently have a WorldSBK presence - and the 21-year-old is not ruling out a Moto2 move of his own.

"We'll see. It all depends on what Suzuki want to do," he said. "I'd like to stay with Suzuki, but it also depends on what they can do for my future. At the end of the day, I've got to do what's best for me and my career. We'll see what that may be."

As well as BSB, Ray hopes to again form part of the factory Yoshimura Suzuki team at this year's Suzuka 8 Hours, having finished tenth with the squad last season alongside Takuya Tsuda and Sylvain Guintoli.

"We've got to see what their plan is, but I'd like to do it again for sure," Ray said.

Dixon, who finished 25th as a stand-in rider at the 2017 British Moto2 Grand Prix, will make his full-time grand prix debut during the first race of the new Triumph era in Qatar this weekend.