In his third Mo­togp sea­son de­cent re­sults are needed and Du­cati’s new star is aim­ing for a top six cham­pi­onship fin­ish

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport - SI­MON PAT­TER­SON SPORTS RE­PORTER si­mon.pat­ter­son@mo­tor­cy­cle­

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!”

Bri­tain’s most un­likely boy­band? It’s Red­ding, Smith, Crutchlow and Kent

Still only 23 years old, but Red­ding’s acutely aware he must make his mark in Mo­togp and make it now Smith’s plan­ning an early-sea­son as­sault be­fore de­vel­op­ment re­ally starts

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