JEREMY McWILLIAMS COLUMN
‘ I don’t think Scott Redding gives a flying f**k what anyone else thinks’
Never bite the hand that feeds...
WHAT CAN YOU (or can’t you) say if you’re contracted to a factory team? We’ve all been known to go off on one when things aren’t going our way, but Scott Redding had a go at his team after the Austrian MotoGP for what he felt was a lack of performance from his factory Aprilia.
He hinted that something on the bike had changed as tyre wear had become excessive from Sachsenring and Brno, and that every weekend there is another problem. He reckoned the team messed up on suspension settings so he wasn’t able to stop the bike, and not being able to make the soft tyre work when it counted in qualifying had him totally confused. Rather than keep this to himself, and try to work through the problems, Scott decided to make everything public, saying: “You cannot make a piece of shit shine, and that’s what I’m trying to do’’. He finished 21 seconds behind his team-mate Espargaro; an eternity in racing terms.
So how can the difference be so big on the same machinery? Is it something that Scott is missing on set-up or just poor direction in the team? Aprilia do have a history of not offering their riders exactly the same specs of bike, as we know from Sam Lowe’s time with them, but could this still be happening? It’s doubtful that Aprilia favour Aleix over Scott; the contract will state that both bikes will be identical. The next test before his home round includes a new engine, but if all the other little issues aren’t resolved then the new motor won’t be worth diddly squat. Chances of a good result, not to mention Scott staying in MotoGP, look increasingly unlikely.
Comparing Scott’s handling of Aprilia’s woes to Yamaha’s acceleration and tyre wear problems, when qualifying turned to shit for Rossi and Vinales in Austria, is like chalk and cheese. The Yamaha riders had a lot to lose as they sat second and fourth in the series, and this was Yamaha’s worst qualifying since 2007. Yamaha, being extremely professional, decided to take the blame, and called an unprecedented press conference to explain exactly why. Project leader Kouji Tsuya admitted their bikes were struggling for acceleration (essentially power delivery), and apologised to the riders because they couldn’t couldn’t get the power down more precisely. He also mentioned that Maverick had suffered some more technical problems with a number of sensor failures. Tsuya said: “We disturbed Maverick’s concentration too much, so now we are investigating how we can solve this problem’’. The riders have been pretty diplomatic about the problems and although Maverick hasn’t handled his ongoing issues with crew chief Roman Forcada very well, he knows when to keep his mouth shut when it comes to biting the hand that feeds him. When asked about his Austrian issues, he replied, ‘’I’m looking forward to going to Silverstone’’.
Rossi has more to lose than anyone with Yamaha’s current performance problems but still knows how to choose his words carefully. There’s a way to explain issues without upsetting the apple cart. But Scott’s Instagram antics are a bit ‘different’, maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, and I expect he couldn’t give a flying f**k. I’m not sure what to make of them myself... He has since issued an apology for his outburst, but it didn’t sound like his own work...
Next up for me is the Goodwood Revival, the highlight of my year. I recently visited an Austrian workshop in the middle of nowhere, where they reproduce supercharged 1928 R57 Boxer 500cc compressors. Why would I get excited about an old girl? Every year I race against Troy Corser and Sebastian Gutsch riding one of these. I race an Andy Savageprepared Manx Norton producing about 50bhp, and we’ve been pretty successful. But it gets more competitive every year and these supercharged BMWs are now making close to 80bhp. Putting it into perspective, current 650 twin engines make about 65bhp and these old BMWs are using exactly the same technology as they did back in the 1920s when they dabbled with superchargers. The BMW hasn’t won a race yet but that might be about to change. The average lap speed is getting close to 100mph and these bikes are using leaf front suspension, rigid rear, and a hand gearshift. The father and son team build them for BMW Heritage in a period workshop with a modern dyno room attached. The addition of the dyno and CNC machines has helped them improve the performance massively, with crankcases/cylinders casting and billet machining all done in-house. Traditional but effective.
WHO IS JEREMY McWILLIAMS?Ex-250 and 500 GP racer Jezza is also a KTM development rider, road racer and occasional film star...