Scott Redding finally took his factory BMW M1000RR to its first podium finish in the WorldSBK Superpole Race at Donington.
A remarkable feat for a rider and manufacturer sometimes down in the doldrums after the previous lead rider Michael van der Mark had been injured not once but twice in the pre-and early season, and having experienced an opening round that left them speechless - unhappily so - in some cases.
While acknowledging his first BMW rostrum was in a sprint race, not a full-distance battle, he had been threatening a podium in race one.
“I was happy; I had to fight again for it,” said Redding. “It’s just good to get that off. I know it’s not a full race distance, but it’s a step. That’s the thing for me. We got in that top three. It’s good for the environment within the team. We seem to have made that step, and we did it in the race. It’s good. It’s just really good.
The fact that it came in a race where none of the main competitors crashed was also a good morale booster as well as a very recognisable reward for good work.
“This is the thing, this is also what I’ve said to the team,” agreed Redding. “That was a clean result this weekend. Alvaro crashed in the first race, but that was clean. No mixed conditions, no crashes. That was how it is. That’s important.
"If I would have got a podium on Saturday, OK, it happened but it’s not really true with a crash. For me, I like to keep it when everyone is on their form. In the Superpole race, everyone was on their form. I got tested at the end. So happy it was just one lap to go when I had to fight a little bit. That was good. It’s a bit of a relief, but also a motivation.
I’m hungry for more. That’s why in race two you probably saw I was there for the first half of the race because I thought, “I’ll have a go. We can do this. We are coming closer.” But, we can’t let off the gas. We have to keep the foot down and we’ve got to keep working. For me, I don’t go, “Now we’re more or less there.” Now I’m going to drive even harder because we are almost there. I want to relate that into other circuits, other conditions, and do that.”
Of race two, Redding said, “The second race was quite hot. I struggled with the front. I saw Alvaro struggling a bit with the front, but we were able to manage. The bike is giving me feeling where I can adjust to the situation, which was good. We improved from Saturday race with the tyre life. We improved that area. We’re still not good, but I could survive a lot better. We know that little bit of direction that we need to go, so in general, I’m really happy with this weekend.”
Redding almost never got to the end of the second race, after some synchronised adrenaline building alongside Alvaro Bautista into Coppice, on lap one. And even before that on his own.
“I went into turn one, I lost the front, and I thought, oh!,” said Redding. “I didn’t really speak to my guys about tyre choice. It was so busy this weekend. I just said, “Yeah, same tyres. Let’s go.” I thought I lost the front. We went into Coppice, and Alvaro ‘went’ and as Alvaro was going, I was doing the same thing.
"Mine wasn’t as big as his, but I thought, 'I’ve done the wrong tyre choice'. He went, and I thought, 'I’ve got nothing to lose so push and it will either work or it won’t work'. Then it came a little bit better. So, I think the track was just dirty or greasy the first laps, because then it came better.”