WorldSBK Catalunya: Redding discusses his 2021 team-mate

| | WorldSBK

Some people expected real news at Catalunya’s WorldSBK round about the second rider inside the Ducati team for 2021, but none was forthcoming.

Redding was asked on Friday at the Catalunya round what he thought about the prospect of Michael Ruben Rinaldi being his team-mate next season. Final news, with either Chaz Davies retained or Rinaldi being promoted from GoEleven privateer status to the second factory bike, is still expected soon.

“What do you want me to say?” he initially replied to the question about Rinaldi, before the questioner jokingly suggested answers such as ‘he is a nice guy, he is an asshole, he is fast, he is slow – whatever you think?’”

Redding got the joke and said, “All of those except the asshole. He is quite a nice guy to be honest, I get along with him, but I would prefer honestly to keep Chaz. Because I feel maybe because Ducati got a little bit stuck in the direction of development last year, with a small rider on the bike.

Then you are kind of in two different ways, you know? When we look to my setting and Rinaldi’s setting, we are quite different. This could make an issue with Ducati. Their goal is to win a world title. That is what my goal is to do with them. Having two big riders that are a similar weight is the best way to build one package for one of us to do the best job possible.

“Having a guy that is 15 or almost 20 kilos lighter, for example he can use the SCX tyre and I can’t, how the fuck are you going to develop a bike? Do you do a Honda thing and just follow one rider, and forget about everyone else? What do you do?”

It was then put to Redding that one argument is that Bautista on the Ducati in 2019 won 16 races, so they could go in two directions and see which one is successful?

“Yes, he won 16 races but he didn’t win a championship,” said Redding. “I kind of would have liked him to win the championship. I believe Ducati as a manufacturer deserve it for their hard work, but sometimes you have got to box smart, not hard. I think that is the problem that has maybe hindered them; that we are coming across more problems with settings and chassis that a small rider does not have that issue, because there is less weight on the bike.

“Even to keep two bigger riders to develop the bike in that way, in theory should work more or less for a smaller rider, so there is less load and less stress. It is just a bit easier. Or, get rid of all the big riders, and keep all small ones, in my opinion.

“You have to kind of go one way or another. Sure he (Rinaldi) is a good rider. Can he win races? He won his first race in Aragon, which was good. Can he win a championship? That is the different story of course. He is young, and there is that point to it, but I believe there is more potential to have me and Chaz there working together.

Chaz has got the experience with the bike and in Superbike and tyres. I have got maybe got more experience I can bring from when I was in MotoGP. I’m a bit more fresh and we can build this package to have summat that can fight for winning.

“Sometimes having a small rider like Bautista, he was so fast in the straight that they had some problems and they neglected them, because Alvaro could ride past those issues with other strong points. The other Ducatis did not have those strong points.

“I am not sure how it really works but for example like when you win so many races you get RPM dropped, etc. Last year you remember last year Alvaro had to have RPM reduced, but so did everyone else (on a Ducati). Not everyone else had the same advantage as he had.

“So, you have kind of put yourself in a bit of an issue with your other guys. That is the only thing that kinda concerns me when you look at Honda. Marc is gone and where is Honda? It is nowhere. You see why they pay him millions and millions because he makes the difference on the bike and he can win championships and he can secure it. But without him they are nothing in MotoGP.

“I think Ducati needs to be smart and make the package that is good for many riders. Which is not far – we have won races this year, Rinaldi has won a race and he is getting stronger. The package is kind of OK for both, so if we improve it a little bit more it will help also the other guys. That is the direction we need to follow.”