Double Top Ten For Bradley At Brainerd
Returning to the track at Brainerd International Raceway this past weekend, Ward far exceeded his expectations, impressing many as he raced to tenth and ninth respectively in the two Superbike races at the 2.5-mile circuit.
Unsure of how he would perform having not actively ridden a bike in more than a year, the #57 rider, looked as though he had never been away. Sporting a razor-sharp new hairstyle, he made the most of Thursday’s additional test, included in the schedule to give all riders more time to learn the BIR circuit which was new for the majority.
He qualified on Row 3, before finishing an impressive ninth in Sunday’s second race, his second top ten result of his racing return.
Bradley hopes to remain with the FLY ADR Motorsports squad at the next round of MotoAmerica which will take place in Pittsburgh in a fortnight.
“Firstly I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has stood by me during my recovery. It’s been a tough ten months but with the support of my parents, family, girlfriend, the whole ADR Motorsports, and the constant stream of kind messages on social media I have been able to return to the track. It wasn’t the plan to race again in MotoAmerica this season. I was going to sit it out and work towards 2022 but with Jayson Uribe heading off to World Superbikes the opportunity was there, and I couldn’t say no. I hadn’t been on a bike for ten months and am still not 100% but I couldn’t turn the chance to jump in at the deep end in the MotoAmerica Superbikes class at Brainerd. I knew it was going to be tough, but I went in with an open mind and no pressure. It was a new bike; a new track and I wasn’t sure I would be even halfway competitive. The Thursday test helped, and I made a few changes compared to how Uribe rode the bike. Small things like lifting the seat to give me a bit more space. It was good to be going 170mph again. I was able to qualify P9 and was pleasantly surprised. In Race 1 I made a good start but there was a red flag. In the restart I got away well, made a few passes and was fighting for the top ten which is where I crossed the line. During Saturday’s race my right foot really started to burn. I didn’t know what it was but after the race I discovered a 4–5-inch blister. The joys of not riding a bike for almost a year. On Sunday I was in a lot of pain. The blister was full of fluid, but I had it taped up and just gritted my teeth. I tagged on Dave (Anthony). I was able to make four or five good passes and took ninth at the flag which all things considered was a great result. It’s been a long road, but we did it and I hope to see everyone in Pittsburgh!”