NOW OR NEVER FOR REDDING
In his third Motogp season decent results are needed and Ducati’s new star is aiming for a top six championship finish
With just five days until the much anticipated first official Motogp test of 2016 in Sepang, Britain’s Motogp hopefuls Cal Crutchlow, Bradley Smith, Scott Redding and Irishman Eugene Laverty are ready for action.
Pramac Ducati rider Redding has already made arguably the strongest start having impressed in testing on the Desmocedici at the end of last year. Immediately discovering the feeling that he was missing on the MARCVDS Honda, the 23-year-old now knows that his 2016 campaign is vital if he wants his Motogp career to continue.
“Every year is a big year, but you have to work with what you’ve got and time isn’t really on my side any more. People have been telling me since I was 16 or 17 that I have loads of time, but now I’m 23 and I’m here, I’m in Motogp and I haven’t really done anything. I got close to a title in Moto2 but didn’t achieve it, and time is starting to run out fast.”
Last season was a veritable disaster for Redding, as his graduation from Open class Honda to a factory-spec satellite RCV213V failed to bring the results that both he and the paddock expected.
Struggling to find a set-up on the Honda that worked for him, he was also unable to get the most out of the Bridgestone tyres. And if his early pace in testing at the end of 2015 is anything to go by he looks to be one of the riders who will benefit the most from the switch to the grippier design of the Michelins, as well as the new standardised ECU and software all teams must run this season.
“The electronics for me don’t feel that bad because I don’t rely on them and I think that was part of the problem when we were using the Bridgestones. The tyres have no grip in the rear and a lot in the front, and I couldn’t get my head around that. Teams use a lot of electronics to control that, but we were a new team, still learning and with no experience. It was a big wall to get over with no ladder to help, whereas this year I feel that I’m already on top of the wall – I just need to jump down and start running!”
And hitting the ground running is exactly what the Gloucestershire racer has done. Ending the Valencia postseason test ahead of factory Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso and less than a second from fastest man Marc Marquez, the change from Japanese to Italian manufacturer also seems to have made big differences for Redding.
“I feel like I’m at the right place with the Ducati already. Even if the results aren’t there this year, at least I enjoy riding it. Last year I didn’t want to even sit on the bike. I couldn’t get results on it, I didn’t enjoy it, and I was under a lot of pressure.
“This year already feels like the complete opposite. It feels like I’m back in Moto2 when I was fighting for a title. I’m in control again, there’s no pressure, and if there is any pressure I can handle it because it’s working in the right way.”
And with that confidence, the former Moto2 runner-up is hoping that results will soon follow. Finishing 2015 in a disappointing 13th place in the championship despite an impressive wet weather podium at Misano, he knows exactly where he believes he can be in 2016.
“I would like to go for the top six in the championship this year. If I can get more, then I’ll get more and I believe at this moment that I can. But we need to see where it leads on to, how people develop, it’s hard to call.
“I was faster than the Hondas at the Jerez test – and if you’re setting better lap times than Marc and Dani then you’re not far away. When you see the lap times from Valencia with the factory software, they were a second from the Bridgestone times, then at Jerez I was 0.9 from the lap record. When you put two and two together like that, I come out looking pretty good!”