JEREMY McWIL­LIAMS COL­UMN

‘ I don’t think Scott Red­ding gives a fly­ing f**k what any­one else thinks’

Performance Bikes (UK) - - CONTENTS -

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...

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