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SBK, Redding: "In Aprilia I felt like I was in a circus, in BMW it's a different story."

INTERVIEW - "In Aprilia I had no way out and it was humiliating. It's not easy to see Toprak win with BMW, but sometimes you need someone to stimulate you to give you some fire back. With Marquez, it's the warrior mentality that makes him different from everyone else."

SBK: Redding:

Changing teams and colors has not been enough for Scott Redding to succeed in making magic happen. Even in this 2024 under the Bonovo Action team banner, the 31-year-old is struggling to find the key to extract the full potential of the BMW M 1000 RR. As evidenced by the unmemorable rounds with which the Briton's season started, overshadowed by the victories of brand mate Toprak Razgatlioglu. A difficult period for Scott but certainly not the toughest of his career, as he told us himself on the eve of the Misano round, in a heart-to-heart chat between present, past and a hint of future.

Scott, are you satisfied with how the season started or did you have other expectations?
"I'm not really satisfied, but at the same time those at the beginning of the season were the most difficult circuits for me, so I knew it was going to be tough. I expected to be in a slightly better position than I am right now, but the lineup is really competitive and riders and manufacturers are all very close right now."

Razgatlioglu only needed a few races to take BMW to success, while you seem to always be one step away from being able to make that "click" with the bike. What are you missing?
"That's a good question. On the one hand it's hard for me to see him win, because of course I would have liked to have been the first one to do it. On the other, however, I am also happy about it, because it led me to believe more in the project. When you try for several years and don't succeed, you start to believe that that is the limit, but the fact that someone has proved that it is possible opens your mind and gives you an extra push to try to achieve the same result. Sometimes you just need someone to stimulate you to give you some fire back."

Where and why is he making all this difference?
"In braking, you can see it quite clearly even on TV. It's an ace he has up his sleeve and it's helping him, but he's also very good in other areas and in setting up the bike. He is smart and he is working very well with Phil (Marron, Razgatlioglu's crew chief, ed.). I think BMW has listened to him and it is good that he is following the direction in which he feels comfortable and in which he shows potential. You can also see from his riding style that he is hungry."

You have an option with BMW for 2025 as well. Do you plan to stay?
"At the moment, my goal is to stay where I am. I'm happy here and I fit in better after the team change this year, because the environment here is more familiar and a bit more relaxed."

Is the moment you are going through now more complex or the period you experienced in Aprilia?
"Aprilia almost finished me off and almost led me to retirement. It's painful to accept that there are millions of people all over the world watching you and you know you can do certain things and the bike physically doesn't allow it. I had no way out, I had to stay there and it was humiliating for me. Inside I felt like I was in a circus. I learned a lot and it was part of my growth and my career, but I don't think anything can come close to what it was like back then and I don't think I will end up being in that mental space again."

Stepping back even further, in 2014 you were debuting in MotoGP with Bautista as your teammate and now you are both in Superbike. How much have you changed in this decade?
"I've changed a lot. I've grown up so much. I was very wild and rowdy. Maybe not the perfect rider for teams and sponsors, but you learn that as you grow up. Now I'm a married man, with a child on the way, and a lot has changed since then."

How important has your wife Jacey been in this journey of growth?
"She contributed a lot. In 2019, I had probably reached the highest peak of my bawdiness. I was living a crazy life, enjoying races and partying with friends. I was enjoying life to the fullest but doing that you don't have longevity because then people get bored. When she came into my life it calmed me down and I started thinking more about having a family in the future than partying with my friends. Now I have found a nice balance."

Have you already started thinking about what it will be like to be a father?
"It scares me a little bit. I always told my wife that I wanted to make sure everything was in place before I tried to have a child, and then she got pregnant and I forgot about all those things, because the only important thing at that time was to think about the baby and doing the best for him."

Would you be happy if one day your son told you that he wants to follow in your footsteps and become a racer?
"My son will be on a motorcycle before he can even ask me to ride (smiles ed.). Whether it's on the track or dirt, we'd love to give him that opportunity."

Do you have any regrets? Is there anything you would change if you could go back in time?
"Honestly, yes and no. I've always been the kind of person who thinks that if I hadn't done a certain thing, what came next wouldn't have happened. I don't really have regrets, because even what I think wasn't good allowed me to learn something, meet someone or gain experience. If I could change anything though, I would have liked to have had the adult mentality that I have now, when I was in Moto2 and MotoGP and I was between 17 and 23 years old. That would have been perfect."

Looking at social media, it seems that people have a hard time understanding you. Many people think you are arrogant and whiny because you always say what you think. How do you experience this?
"Sometimes it's irritating, but there are a lot of idiots on social media who comment to get a rebuttal, not caring about your feelings or anything else and who probably don't even read what you write. I don't say bullshit but I state my opinion and I am happy if someone expresses an opinion, even different from mine, because the world needs people who are themselves and have opinions. I'm not going to change that, but after two years the minimum weight limit has finally been introduced and, as I said, it's not just for me but for everybody, also because I've talked about it in the paddock with other riders but nobody has the balls to talk about it on social because they don't want to make people hate them. Somebody has to do it though, because if nobody talks nothing will ever change. I hope this is a step forward to improve things in the future."

Do you think that being so direct has been an obstacle to your career?
"I have clashed with some people, but then you shake hands and find a way to fix everything. I don't like talking behind people's backs, I prefer to tell it like it is, and even if people don't like it, I think they then recognize that if nothing else I was honest. Maybe it's not the right policy, but I never had that kind of background. I was a free spirit who did what I thought was right, and I always lived by that principle."

How do you see Marc Marquez's move to the official Ducati team? What do you expect?
"I'm happy to see him having fun and being himself. I've raced against Marc for most of my life, so I know him well, I know his personality and you never saw it when he was in Honda. But now you see it and it's great to see him fighting on this bike and to see him so happy to be there, also because I know what it means to be where you don't want to be but where you have to be. He has shown that sometimes you have to take a step back to move forward and now there is the official bike waiting for him. Will he win the title? I think so. I'd like to see him win at least one more title, because he went through a lot of difficulties and kept trying. There are strong riders, but he's the toughest one I know, the one who if he had a wall in front of him wouldn't even think about stopping. His warrior mentality is what makes him different from everyone else."

 

Translated by Julian Thomas

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