Britain’s Scott Redding had to change his riding style mid-way through the Austin MotoGP round as his choice of the soft front Michelin proved to be the wrong option.
The Octo Ducati man was forced to make alterations to his corner strategy in order to just survive a race which saw six riders crash and several others speak of serious tyre wear.
A ten-inch scuff along the right knee of his leathers was confirmation of just how close Redding had come to falling out of the 21-lap encounter, which required the riding adjustment to deal with the changeable nature of grip.
“In the end the race was good. It was an improvement in position, after the small engine problem we had this morning,” said Redding speaking at the track.
“The front was just destroyed. I closed the front in turn four. It was the biggest slide I’ve saved in my life, it was so fucking fast I held it on my knee. I pushed that hard I destroyed it.
“I believe if I had the medium front I could have got to Espargaro and he was 20 seconds off top so my target wasn’t too far. The front tyre was destroyed.
“In one lap I was losing a second, a second, a second, two seconds. Just at the end I managed to change my style a bit and managed to get it down to half a second a lap.
“Then when I was in the right corners I couldn’t push with the knee and take the weight off the front. I thought, ‘What am I going to do now?’ Then I tried to spin the rear but a couple of times the front came back and it would plough, grip and try to chuck me again.
“I was like, ‘I’m not going to be able to make this corner’, so I had to make two-point corners and try not to put my knee on the floor.
“Now when I put it down, it was trying to pull me off the bike. I had a challenging few laps but I was able to sort it out towards the end because the other guys were catching me. I was happy.”
Redding explained how he had attempted several technique changes, before settling on a pinpoint, point-and-squirt approach to maximise his speed without a great deal of front grip in the closing laps.
“That was just survival. I hope I don’t have to do that very often in the season. As soon as I went to full angle I was losing the front. I was trying to keep my body up and I couldn’t really feel what the front was doing. I’d try to take the gas and the front was closing. I’d try to lean, the front was closing. I didn’t know what to do.”