Scott Redding took his Aruba Ducati to second place behind eventual clear WorldSBK race one winner Jonathan Rea at Assen, in a clash that had some strong passes and scraps between the top three riders in the championship table.
Rea would ease away to win but it looked like it could have been Redding’s race, after he had made a final push to keep Toprak Razgatlioglu behind him at least.
His front tyre and that late fight with Razgatlioglu allowed Rea more freedom to drag himself away to win by three seconds before the red flag came out on lap 19 of the planned 21.
“I felt good,” said Redding about his overall race and feel from his bike. “I felt like I had the pace. I closed the gap to them two, felt pretty good. I struggled a little bit off the start. Same shit, always happens. But I had the pace. I felt comfortable. I closed the gap to them two. Kind of sat there. Okay, we’ll see how it goes.”
Rea went for the new development X front tyre and the ‘B’ SCX rear. Redding could see that choice in how he was riding, as Redding had gone for more standard ‘C’ options front and back.
“I had a feeling that Jonathan was on the new X tyre, so I go to myself, ‘We’ll see where we are. We’ll play it out a bit.’ Then he started to pull away a bit and I got past Toprak, and then Toprak started fighting again with me. So then he got away more.
"I let Toprak see if he can catch him, because he’s going to keep overtaking me. I didn’t really have the pace to catch him (Rea). I passed Toprak back. He directly tried to come back again in the twisty section, which is a little bit our weak area, but then I can catch him on the next straight. So I just let him get away, really.
Then I struggled with the front tyre, right side. I think Toprak also. I could feel him slowing up. I got past Toprak again and I just dropped the hammer for one lap. I think I did 35.5 which was over a half a second faster than what we was doing, but in doing that I just ended the tyre. Couldn’t sustain it.
"Then the front was closing more and more and I just kind of was surviving to do what I could do and try and keep Toprak at bay. Red flag came out and that was it.”
Redding’s crew made no changes but the temperature change on day two, a little warmer, made some differences to ultimate bike performance.
"“We haven’t changed anything, really. No. It’s more just the temperature. What temperature does seems to direct what we need to do. I do need to look and try to improve the front tomorrow because if the front didn’t drop off, I know I had a good pace to either catch Jonny or at least run with him, which is important to go for the win.
"I felt good with the bike. Just that front tyre, when it drops off like that, and in the right corners you just have no corner speed. You drop like three to five k an hour in the corner and you just can’t do anything. You push and you lose the front more.
"So you’re then just surviving which sometimes when you’re all in the same boat, like I think Jerez last year we all had the same thing, the race was doing the same, all of us were struggling with the front. All of us were slowing up in the same sort of corners. But here, Jonathan didn’t have that drop so he was able to keep that pace. Happy to be back on the podium after a couple of tough rounds for us. That was good to battle at the front again.”
Nothing to be done about Race One for Redding now, but with his confidence boosted after some tough times the ten lap sprint and then Race Two on Sunday still await him and anybody who thinks they can take Rea at what is now his best track again.