Sixth place two weeks ago confirmed that Scott Redding is taking steps forward with the Ducati. The problem experienced with the tyre in Argentina didn't stop him, with the Pramac rider confident ahead of Jerez. The arrival in Ducati of Jorge Lorenzo has no doubt put pressure on the Brit, who dreams of a place in the factory team. He's convinced: it won't be easy for the Majorcan to adapt to the Desmosedici.
How are you feeling?
“I feel good now I’m back in Europe. I don’t know whether it was jet-lag or whether I was just tired from all the travelling, but I slept constantly for a few days once I got back, before getting back to training. I’m ready to get going again now. Having said that, even to come here took two flights, Bristol to Barcelona and then Barcelona to Seville so even this was a longer trip than it should have been!”
How much of a confidence boost was Texas?
“I was happy with the race. I want to say I could have done more but I also could have risked crashing. At the start, behind Iannone, I felt comfortable but then a bit later I realised I didn't have that kind of pace. I was struggling in the last two sectors and while following Iannone I could see that he didn’t have that problem. I didn’t want to try and fix it and then maybe crash, so I had to accept that he’d get away in those last sectors.”
The first year I didn’t finish the race because the tyre was destroyed and we knew we’d have that problem again this year, so I was trying to be a little patient, staying with the front group in the first laps and then seeing what I could do. I just didn’t have the tyre to make the difference at the end. When the tyre really did drop off, I used the right knee slider, but was dropping 1 second from lap to lap.”
With regard to the tyre wear, is it a set-up problem or a riding style issue?
“I think it’s more the tyre and the circuit itself. Some manufacturers, including us, have had the problem there before, and also certain riding styles I guess, like Marquez. We also used the soft tyre, which had more grip but less life. Some guys on medium tyres crashed, while other finished the race with it looking quite good. You can adapt in terms of riding style I think, and that’s something I learned in that race.”
Did Michelin explain the Argentina situation?
“No, there was no review of what happened. For me the issue was the movement with the rear tyre, and when I passed Pedrosa the rear was shaking and this separated the rubber from the carcass. Now we know, if we get too much movement maybe we need to adapt the bike or I need to change something. With Baz the tyre exploded while with me the rubber came away, so two different issues.”
What do you expect in Jerez?
“In testing the circuit's always fast and feels good but then when you come to race it feels different, not worse, but different. My target would be top six, I’d be happy with that... top eight and I’d still be satisfied, also if we can close the gap to the leaders, this is important. I was a bit disappointed in Texas because the gap was quite big but then so was the gap between Marquez and Lorenzo. We need to improve.”
What do you think about the Lorenzo news?
“For Lorenzo, I think it will be quite difficult, because of his riding style. He’s a multi-champion in different categories, a very high calibre rider, so he will adapt but it might take some time. With the Yamaha it’s all about smooth riding while on the Ducati it’s not always so precise, you need a bit more power to work with the bike… But it will be interesting to see. The negative is that it’s one less place available, and I do want to be on a factory bike next year. I think we showed our potential in Argentina and Texas and I want to prove I can do it by improving race after race. If I can do that, then I hope Ducati might give me an opportunity. The satellite bike is similar to the factory bike but it’s not exactly the same of course. All I can do is my best!”
Is it frustrating that the market talks are already in progress?
“Yes, a little because we were hoping things would stay quiet until Mugello, but with people signing contracts now, it means I’m not left with much time. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself to do well right now, and maybe make things worse. I can only do what I can do – if that has to be another year on the satellite bike then so be it.”
Are you still learning about the Ducati?
“I’ve learned a lot at each race. The track changed between the test and race in Qatar and I wasn’t able to adapt quickly enough, my riding style didn’t allow me to make the same times. Then, in Argentina I was able to make progress by changing my style, and the dirty track actually helped me do that. Texas too. Now we're also trying to improve a few things with the bike and engine that can help me with turning particularly, as braking is quite good I think. We’re lacking a little drive compared to the factory Ducatis, if we can reduce the spin to increase the drive it might bring me another tenth closer.”