WorldSBK Donington: Tyre drop denies Redding the rostrum| Gordon Ritchie | WorldSBK
Scott Redding was a WorldSBK top five runner in the first two days at Donington, partly due to a new swingarm and other detail changes to his BMW Motorrad M1000RR. But also because he is getting the latest job worked out a bit better.
In race one, in a podium position with a few laps to go, he had to give best to Alex Lowes’ Kawasaki, and his better preserved rear tyre. Redding’s was, as it looked from all the big slides and wheel-spinning, definitely finished and the rider himself confirmed it after a rousing - but still just off-podium - battle in front of the home fans.
Asked about his tyre, he said, “Yeah, that was it, really. That was a shame. That was hurting me inside, that one.
“It’s just a little bit annoying, really, because we do all that work and you’re just giving it up at the end because there’s nothing you can do. I was trying everything… slower, faster, just slide it through the corner, brake later. As soon as you get to the pickup area, you just lose time. Alex came past me so I thought, ‘I’m going to have to try and battle with him,’ but it was like bringing a knife to a gun fight. So, we tried.
“It was better. Eleven seconds to the leader instead of twenty plus. At least a step. I made the mistake on the start again. A bit my fault, to be honest. Went back, come back through. Lost a bit of time with [Iker] Lecuona. I’m happy.
“The weekend has been pretty solid,” he continued. “I’ve been having a bit more pace in qualifying. It was do or die. I need to be on them first two rows. It was great for Jonny to let me follow. I’m not a threat to him in the race, not yet, which is good. For him I think it’s better that I’m there than someone else is there. I was riding hard, but I’m getting something back for it now.
“In Aragon, I felt like I was riding the same but it wasn’t happening. I wasn’t getting anything. Now I feel like I’m able to do what Scott Redding can do on the bike and then put it together. So, slowly I feel like we’re making that forward progress. Just keep it going, really. That’s where we’re at, at the moment.”
Asked if he needed more components and settings, or maybe just more track time to really get to know his bike, he said, “It’s a bit of both. Hardware things, we’ve got the new swinging arm. It seems to be working better. Obviously, we need to develop that a little bit if we can. Electronics I still… I finished the race and said, we need to do this, we need to do that. Our electronics are good, but they need a lot of behind the scenes work. Then sometimes in the race it’s not quite right and you don’t have the options to make it work in the race. Especially here, you don’t have time to play with all the buttons. It’s quite difficult having a bike that’s ripping and shaking and stuff like that. So, we just still need to keep this step up the ladder.
“I don’t care if it’s half a tenth or half a second. As long as we can keep progressing, that’s the important thing. That’s what we’ve done. From Aragon to now, we’ve had a nice, progressive curve and I want to continue that, because I won’t stop until I get there.”
Redding had to work hard after not the best start, as he explained. “Yeah, I was frustrated off the start. It was my own fault. I thought, ‘you’ve done it again, you idiot. You gave it up again.’ Then I was like, ‘I need to get through, I need to get through’. I was able to come through and when I saw them battling, I’m like, ‘you’ve got to go now, hard, hard’.
“Sometimes I’d close the gap and then it would go, and I’d close out. I thought, ‘maybe if they start to fight’… When Alvaro crashed, Jonny just had a little bit more pace. Then it just neutralised and I thought, ‘keep going, keep going.’ Then when the tyre was dropping, there’s nothing to do. I think if I had a good start, I would have been able to be with Jonathan and Alvaro, which is already a massive step. So, tomorrow if we can get off the line, that’s my target. I’ve got to get off the line. I have to.”
That new swingarm was available to others at Donington, not just Redding but he did the most with it.
“Yeah. I’ve got a feeling for it,” he said. “For me, it’s better in almost every area, so for the race it’s the same. The thing with the tyre with the last five laps, we had the same with the old swinging arm. So, a little bit the characteristic of the bike, with the electronics. We’ve got to set the power. There’s a lot to do to make the bike work. At the moment, the window is quite small. We need to make the window bigger so we can have a little bit more to play with.”