Redding consults Ducati bosses for immediate improvements

| | WorldSBK
Picture: GeeBee Images

Ducati’s V4R is, on paper, the best bike in WorldSBK for more reasons than its rev-monster of an engine and unbeatable performance - when it is set up right and working right.

Not always been the case for Scott Redding, this year or last, but at Misano, just a hundred or so miles down the A14 Autostrada from Bologna, Redding at least had the opportunity to discuss some things with Ducati’s highest management echelon.

With Claudio Domenicali and Gigi Dall’Igna both at the track during the early stages of the weekend, did Redding get a chance to talk about where to go next, and what he needs right now?

“I spoke with Gigi on Friday,” he confirmed. “Had a little meeting with him, just discussing things I feel we need to improve, how I feel. It was good actually to have a chat face-to-face because I don’t get to see him that often, and you can just put it out on the table and say it as it is, which is always good. But it doesn’t help you for now. Now, this is the problem.”

Redding is convinced of one thing - Ducati really wants to win this championship after years of trying. “Yeah, for sure. They want to win. They are open. They do want to work and do want to develop. Obviously, whether it’s with me or not with me for the future, we need to see. Of course, I would like to stay with them. I believe they can win the world championship and I believe they need to change a few things, and I think they realise they also need to change a few things.

“But that’s all something that comes later again. If we get those things, it’s no good testing it in Jerez with ten, twelve degrees on the track because of course it’s going to feel good. The problem is today. We need stuff that we can test today, but it’s difficult to do that. Even when you come testing, it’s always different to when you’re racing. So, it’s just really hard when you’re developing a bike to do it through testing.

‘That’s why Kawasaki for me is so good and when you think about Ducati when they had the V twin, it was good. The bike was very consistent, very good, because they had so many years of developing and just tweaking all the time through the racing. Winter, then you come back racing, we tweak again. So every year it gets a little bit better. You start to understand. It’s why Kawasaki don’t change so much. The base is always the same. Ducati changed massive the bike. They changed the engine. They changed the character.

It was a massive deal. But now you’ve got to build up on that again. That takes time. Like, when you have these conditions, this is testing for me. When you can’t compete to win, it’s like testing because you want to improve the bike for the following races in the future or the following season that when you have this issue, you can improve. That’s where you make those small changes that can improve the bike. But you could have three or four weekends like this and not find anything, and you’re smashing your head on the wall.”

What appears to be a fickle nature to the Ducati vee-four, and its relationship with different conditions, is another thing that is causing sleepless nights in some red quarters.

“The problem is like if I compare to when I had this issue before, very similar to Aragon. Rinaldi last year in Aragon rode fast. This year maybe not feeling confident, comfortable, I don’t know. But now I have the same feeling as Aragon and he is fast, like Aragon. He’s always fast. He was fast here from day one. The only time we can be fast as him is when we put the qualifier, then we get rear grip.

“The rear grip stops the bike. It turns the bike. We were faster than him in qualifying. Had to come from a long way, but I could do it. We tried a lot, but it’s hard because if it’s just generally the bigger riders suffering in this condition, we’re not going to pinpoint. We’re going to just be going around the problem. It’s hard because I really felt here we could make results, but I’m struggling right now.”

Maybe a more radical re-design of the V4R, at least the homologation special R version, is needed, and will be in the pipeline from Bologna soon?

“We will see what they want to do,” said Redding. “It’s just what we need to improve and we need to understand what it is and to find it. That’s the hardest point. You can talk and you can have ideas, but when you put it out on the track it’s when you need to find and to see what it’s capable of doing.”