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WorldSBK Catalunya: ‘It was mad, but great’ - Redding

Scott Redding was having a relatively tough time at Catalunya in the dry, but come a sudden rain shower just before Saturday’s 20-lap WorldSBK Race One, and he would finally find a way to win it, much to the surprise of everyone, including himself.

He had no idea where he was in the first laps and just stuck to this task, which ended up in a race win for him, and a one-two-three for Ducati.

“I didn’t know where I was,” said Redding about the early laps. “I thought I was 15th. I was ready to call it a day. I went off the start and at the start line, there’s a black patch. I don’t know what it is, if it’s for the sensors. I went over this and [the tyre] spun, and I dropped back.


“Tom Sykes was the same, he dropped back. It already puts you on the back foot. Then all the way down to the first corner, people are more dominant so you’re not in a position to overtake. Then I had no grip the beginning of the race, edge grip. I tried to get on the gas. Slide, slide, slide. It kind of stayed the same for me all the race, but the other guys were like faster, faster, faster, faster. Then they start to drop a bit, whereas I was just like this.”

But he started to find a way round his issues and made progress all the way to the lead after Toprak Razgatlioglu had broken down, and Jonathan Rea had lost too much drive grip to challenge any more.

“The [lap] time was getting faster because I was working to manage the bike,” he continued. “I had really no edge grip. It was scary. I was entering the corner. The rear was coming around, and I was like, ‘now I’m going to the moon.’ The only thing I could do was go less engine brake. I went less engine brake, same thing. So, I was going into the corner and on entry before my knee touched the floor, I was taking the gas to try to make it, but when it goes then you’ve got no load. It wasn’t comfortable. It took me a long time to get my rhythm.”

Young privateer Axel Bassani was second in the race, after Redding had hunted him down, but it was Redding’s own team-mate Michael Ruben Rinaldi who was the biggest target for Redding to chase as his confidence and desire built up.

“It was probably a blessing in disguise that Rinaldi was in front because it made me hungry,” said Scott, “I was like, ‘I can’t have this’. I’ll be honest. It did make me push more. It made me kind of go, ‘we’re going to win it or we’re going to bin it’ scenario. I didn’t expect to win. I thought maybe top five, and I would have been happy with that after how the bike was feeling. It felt really terrible in the rain. But then I saw the guys struggling. He wasn’t really struggling. A couple of little moments, but I know I was in a worse position, but I was able to stay with him. So, I knew if I could get in front, I could maybe go a bit more and that’s what I did. I just managed it. Like every corner, I was like, front brake with a little bit of gas to try to keep it low. Take the rear brake, try to pick the bike up, then no brake. Don’t lose. Just mental.

“It was such a long race for me, because everything I did was just fixing it for a split second, then something else would happen, then fix that… It was like that the whole time. I couldn’t relax on the bike at all.”

Redding agreed that in these wet races, it is always better to be the hunter than the hunted.
“Yeah, that was kind of the good thing, was I could see everyone’s situation,” said Redding. “I knew my situation, but when you’re leading, you don’t know what’s going on behind, who’s fast, really. If somebody’s like me, coming to Bassani, he doesn’t know until I’m there. I can see that some guys are having similar issues to me, so I thought, shit, but I’m still able to do something. That kept me motivated.

“There was a part of me that was like, ‘you’d never give up. Don’t give up. Just dig in. If you go down, you go down. Eighth, seventh, you don’t even know. So, just try’. It was a bit better, a bit better. I was catching, catching. I thought, ‘just keep this rhythm’. That was why when I passed Bassani, I didn’t realise that I put a gap. I thought he was still on my wheel. I was still putting in, I guess, good laps and just brought it home. It was one of those races it just went down, and then flipped it and it was up. Over the finish line, I was first. It was mad, but great.”

The only ‘regret’ for Redding was in taking the lead from rookie Bassani with so few laps to go, and the Italian rider in the lead. “I felt bad,” said Redding, “I did feel a bit guilty passing Bassani with two laps to go, to take his first race win. He rode well. He rode a really good race. So, I did feel a little bit bad, but at the same end, I was like, every man for himself.”

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