A new wind has blown through the WorldSBK class on the first days of school in – very nearly – 2020. Predictably it is former MotoGP regular and 2019 British Superbike Champion Scott Redding who is providing gusts of pace, on-track and off.
With no Jonathan Rea riding on the final day at Motorland Aragon, Redding was still comfortably the fastest rider over two days, and on race tyres not just a qualifying tyre - which he resorted to as well to set a 1’49.929s.
It was only the second day of his second test on the WorldSBK spec Ducati, but there are a few areas still to work on.
“I felt a bit better with the bike today. Still not comfortable with a few components on the bike, brakes and stuff. I am still not 100 per cent. We tried a few things with the chassis today that helped me improve the lap time a little bit,” Redding told bikesportnews.com.
“I felt more comfortable getting more laps on the bike to understand. Again, with he race tyre I thought I was on a good level for the track condition; with the qualifier I felt I had maybe three tenths in the pocket.
I took the first two corners quite steady because it was cold, and you know with a qualifier you need to make the most of the first lap. But it is really the first time I am using a qualifying tyre, so I need to use it more to understand the full potential. In general I am quite happy with the things we tested and have worked with today.”
Redding confirmed that he has not had experience of the bigger tyres in BSB, as they have not landed in that series yet.
“We just had the standard ones in BSB. Honestly, I do not notice a massive difference, just we can take more lean angle and maybe more stability in hard braking.”
Redding was also seen doing some practice starts, and he joked that he might know why he was able to do a few of them.
“I got to do a lot of practice starts, which is good, because I think they know that my starts were shit this year!” he said. “We tried something with the electronics today and the starts were not good; yesterday my starts were really good. I even did one with Chaz and was a little bit better. With the launch control it is much easier, and the clutch in this bike is a lot easier to manage. I am quite comfortable that I can make good starts in the next season.”
The WorldSBK bike uses a different shift pattern from his BSB V4R, as he explained.
“At the test in Valencia I was hooking up for first, and it wasn’t there. ‘Where is first gear boys? Ah, down.’” He said. “It is alright, when you are riding it is fine, it is just when you get on it sometimes for me it was more weird in BSB to go up for first especially at the start of the race with the nerves and you have to go up, and just checking. Here, first is down then all down, like MotoGP.
“In BSB it was like a normal gearbox, one up, five down. It is just safer and smoother. At Cadwell I missed first gear once or twice, and obviously you do not want that at all, so it is like a safety thing which is a lot easier to keep involved. I think it is costs, and the gearbox is just different. BSB is a national championship at the end of the day whereas this is a world championship where they want the best of the best really.”
Unlike the last BSB Champion to come back into WorldSBK, Leon Haslam, Redding has not struggled with the electronics, it appears.
“I have been all right with it, to be fair,” said Scott. “The first time I got on the bike, for me it is more difficult to go off the electronics, because you do not have the safety. I learned a lot in BSB this year, managing the throttle and the bike. I do not run a lot of electronic and I don’t feel much difference. It is just nice that when I do get a spin I know I have more of a safety cushion than BSB with nothing. It works to my advantage because I can get on the throttle harder and trust the system.”
Redding as asked about a comment he reputedly made a few years ago, that possibly went something like he would rather work on McDonalds than got to WorldSBK?
“Probably some years ago when I was still competitive, but Superbike now has changed quite a lot,” he said in answer. “They are a lot more race-bikey. To be honest with you this V4R from Ducati feels more like a racebike than my Aprilia did for a whole year. It is that sort of thing. Maybe I was a bit naïve to think about that.
“Same about BSB, I made comments that I dunno if I want to go there - but it was the best career move that I made. It made me go back, strip myself down to the person that I am, show people the rider I can be, and now that has given me a factory seat in WorldSBK. Sometimes when you are young you can be a bit ambitious with what you say or what you think until you go and you know it. People ask you these questions and you need to give an answer.”