WorldSBK rookie Scott Redding believes he is strong enough to take on and beat five-time champion Jonathan Rea if all the small changes he needs on the Panigale V4R come through.
The reigning British Superbike Champion was at the sharp end at both Jerez and Portimao tests, and has one more to go at Phillip Island before the season opener in Australia.
Redding knows what he has to do and what Rea brings to the table, especially in the opening few laps of a race.
“He is doing what he does best and he does it very well, you cannot take that away from him at all. So we have to find strategies how we are going to beat him in the future,” Redding told bikesportnews.com.
“That is why I am focusing more on what I am doing. Sure, I am keeping an eye on the other guys, but my main goal is what we have got. I have ideas.
If we did not have a game plan already we would probably be in a bit of trouble. I know physically and mentally I am strong enough to beat him; it is just like I say, those small little parts on the bike. If we can just get them right, then I know I will be in a strong position to fight with him.
“As it stands at the moment, it will probably be like it was in the past. He will go in the beginning and then he will hold that gap. They have so much grip with a new tyre they use that to their advantage. I am fully aware of the advantage that they have, so if we can try to close that in the beginning then we are in a position to fight for the rest of the race.”
Maybe, just maybe, Redding will be helped by the change to the early season line-up of races, all at tracks he knows intimately from MotoGP and even Assen from last year in BSB.
“For the calendar, I like all the circuits. There are a couple of new ones and I look forward to them. I always enjoy going to new circuits. Getting to test PI a couple of days before, then doing the race good, then going on to Qatar – another track which is probably one of my favourites on the calendar - as I PI, as is Assen.
“So it will be nice to have that, where I do not have to worry so much about the circuit. I know my style suits all of those circuits pretty well. It will be interesting to get on the ground and get the flow for the season already in the first races.”