A rather resigned Scott Redding heads for the first WorldSBK race of 2023 with his ROKiT BMW Motorrad at Phillip Island this weekend.
Having struggled for the majority of last season, and despite the promise of an upgraded M1000RR, Redding remained in the lower echelons of the timesheets across pre-season testing with over a second to bridge between himself and the, now dominant, bike he left in 2021.
“The first couple of tests were quite difficult and even here at Phillip Island it was kind of hard,” Redding admitted ahead of Australia’s opening round. “Just trying to find the feeling again with the new bike was difficult. Obviously, with the weather conditions, it also puts another spanner into the mix and I kind of take it very gently.
“I get frustrated and I’m like, ‘it’s only testing. Don’t worry, the race is coming. It’s always different’.
“We’ve tried a lot of things with the bike - on electronics and set up and stuff like that- but to be honest, we kind of came back to what our base was end of last year, which there’s good and bad. It means the progress was not as much as we want but we have the good package of last year. So with the updates we have with the fairing, engine and stuff like that it’s obviously going to help us especially for us in the hotter conditions. Overall, just happy to get underway. Get the testing done. For me, I live for the racing so this is more motivating for me.
“I’d probably say the aero package that we got [is the most positive]” the British rider continued on 2023 developments. “This just mainly helps us for the engine temperature because last year I suffered a lot in the hot races with engine overheating. There wasn’t really anything we could do so I knew when we had hotter races, in the race I was on a disadvantage because the engine power goes down. They helped this quite a lot which is good and our top speed is improved a little bit as well. That’s the only thing for me that’s really stuck, that I feel like ‘yeah this is actually going to help us’. Obviously we changed the brakes as well. This was a big thing for me. I’ve some consistency now, I have no complaints on consistency so this was an improvement for me that I think is going to help me through this year too.
While the former MotoGP rider and British Champion acknowledges the progress made by the German manufacturer, his biggest 2022 gripes remain unchanged.
“It’s just the same as last year,” he admitted. “Honestly, just a little bit everywhere. You go testing and there’s some parts of the circuit you go ‘Oh, we’re not too bad’. You go to the next sector with a different type of corner and you lose everything. That’s the hard thing because, I take for example here, the first sector we lose like half a second, then the next two sectors we’re reasonably good and then the last sector we lose again like half a second. It’s hard because we really need to dial in the type of corner that we suffer with, which we know, a lot of lean angle for a long time, but we haven’t found anything that’s really hit that spot.
”We’re kind of improving other areas a little bit but our weakest point is still our weakest point.
“So we still have to work in that area but it’s kind of going racing now. Last year, I did a lot of testing. I said the weekend for me was like testing and improving. I’ve done a year with the bike and now I start the next year and the weak point is still the weak point. Sure, we’re going to be working to improve it but I can’t focus on it.
“I’ve just got to accept it and try to focus on other areas of the bike and try to maximise those points. Otherwise, I’m going to just complain about the same thing and I’m going to be turning in the same circle. So just accept it, when we get some updates or if there’s something that we believe can really help I will try it, and just move on and look at the positives, find where we feel strong with the bike and try to improve that more if we can.”