MotoGP Austria: Gossip, rumour and Redding’s turd-polishing outburst

Scott Redding’s branding of the MotoGP Aprilia as a shit that can’t be shined won’t have burned any bridges with the Noale factory as that crossing was already a smouldering wreck anyhow.

It did however, induce many team managers in WorldSBK and BSB to make that noise when you suck in loads of air through pursed lips.

Redding was only saying what Sam Lowes wanted to 12 months previously and is a breath of fresh air, if you will, when compared to the usual PR bollocks that is trotted out. Only Valentino Rossi, and occasionally Cal Crutchlow and Aleix Espargaro, are able to get away with saying what they think. The rest are terrified what the old, white men who run motorcycle racing will do to them.

Redding has taken a cavalier turn in recent meetings, turning up to media briefings in Hawaiian shirts, not being particularly guarded with his comments and the Gloucester rider’s Instagram has been comedy gold. But it’s not making his aim of getting a job next year any easier.

No-one wants to hire a maverick without a capital M. One WorldSBK team boss spake forth last night: “He needs to prove he is good enough so will probably have to pay for a ride.”

Which is a bit much as Redding can clearly ride. But he is facing a situation where there are only three top-notch rides currently available in WorldSBK - Shaun Muir still hasn’t announced his plans for next season - with Chaz Davies, Marco Melandri, Eugene Laverty, Tom Sykes, Jordi Torres, Alvaro Bautista, Sandro Cortese, Xavi Fores, Loris Baz and some others all available to take them. It means wages will certainly be forced down.

Elsewhere at the Red Bull Ring, a veritable who’s who of Alpine ski racers turned up headed by no less than Luc Alphand who is also a Dakar Rally winner. In the snow huddle was living legend Aksel-Lund Svindal along with Henrik Kristoffersen, Beat Feuz, Dominik Paris, Christof Innerhofer and their predecessors Hans Knauss, Matthias Lanzinger and Hannes Trinkl. Innerhofer announced that he preferred Valentino’s ex-girlfriend more than his current one before camping at the track.

Randy De Puniet has signed a deal to take over from the injured Mika Kallio as KTM’s test rider for the next five months as the Finn recovers from knee surgery. But the veteran Frenchman will not race. “We have changed the test plan. We lost a lot of the test work due to the injuries and have to catch up now. We have to do solid test work. We would like to bring a few improvements to the races in detail. Our racing bike is constantly being further developed. This will not change next year,” said boss Mike Leitner.

Rossi believes this is not Yamaha’s worst moment in MotoGP, 2004 takes that honour, but he revealed it isn’t just electronics that are the problem, the engine is too. “For me, our chassis is fine. But it’s true, it’s not just electronics, it’s also about the engine. Yes. When we look at the track: Honda and Ducati have improved a lot in the last year and a half. It has changed a lot. It is due to a combination of ECU and engine. Hard to say what percentage has to do with engine control.

“When I arrived a long, long time ago in 2004 Yamaha was a lot worse than now. But in one year they reacted very strongly.

“They put different organisation, they put more money, more people and in one year we were able to make the 2005 M1 that is for me the best M1 that I ride. So we have to try the same.”

Crutchlow had another little dig at HRC and the lack of a carbon swingarm in his almost-factory RC213V but covered it by saying that Honda had done a sterling job as they were now able to at least stay in the Ducati’s slipstream instead of getting murdered down the straights as in previous years.

Tom Luthi’s tenure in MotoGP has come to an end after one season. He returns to Moto2 with the Intact team most probably at the expense of Jake Dixon as that is who we believe the BSB star was in talks with at Spielberg. Moto2 rides are now few and far between but there are still a couple, including two at Aspar, worth having.

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