WorldSBK Magny-Cours: ‘It’s hard when you get blown to bits on the straight’ - Redding| Gordon Ritchie at Magny-Cours | WorldSBK
Proof, if any were needed, the BMW WorldSBK project does have the legs to let a rider like Scott Redding compete for podiums and wins, came in race one at Magny-Cours, when Redding led, held that lead for some time and look almost like he had been riding an inline four cyclinder screamer WorldSBK for decades.
What has made the greatest difference for Redding on the tech side is a bike which provides more feeling to the rider.
“In Most we had good pace anyway, but I needed to work on the electronics more to give me more feeling, which we did in Barcelona. It took a lot of work. We still need to really fine-tune it. It’s the first time we’ve used it in this way for me,” Redding told bikesportnews.com.
Redding has not been happy to go along with the direction that BMW had been pursuing, in terms of development, and his suggestions, turned into reality by BMW, seem to have worked quickly.
“It’s a little bit different to what the other guys are using, so a bit my own style,” he explained. “Just the confidence is there. We had some updates and stuff in Barcelona and confirmed them here. Felt good. It’s just a confidence thing, really. You just know what the bike is going to do.
“I know what’s the potential. I start to believe we can do it more and it helps. Qualifying is a big part. A good start is part of it. When you’re there, you’ve just got to fucking commit to it.”
He was out of the traps early in race one, which makes a big difference to any rider. “I felt very good in the first few laps, which is normally where I struggle a little bit. I normally take a bit of time to get going, but I felt good from the word go. So, that was a good point to have, but I need to work a little bit in the middle of the race.
“There was a part I was struggling a little bit. A little bit of concentration as well, I’ll be honest. Because once I couldn’t battle with Alvaro anymore, it was just riding round. It’s annoying because I want to battle, want to race. I was trying, trying, trying and just made a few mistakes and kept the pressure on.”
The Ducati was obviously much faster than Redding’s bike, at least with Bautista on it. “Once I gave him that back straight one time, it was more or less done. You’ve got two straights back to back, so you go on the limit to the brake. Any pause or waiting on the limit again, and you start to tear the front tyre and then you risk obviously crashing.
In a situation like that, I will battle to a point of where I think if it’s unnecessary. A good 20 points is good for me. A second position is good for me. So, I just have to try and improve. But I’m happy that again we are coming there. Not a lot of track time, so for setting up the electronics, for me, and BMW, we need more time. Obviously, I haven’t rode here with the BMW. So, in every race we can have a base, but it’s nothing like what they used last year. So, we need time to adapt, but obviously with the weather that went out the window.”
The wet Friday Redding was alluding to harmed everybody’s dry weather Saturday plans at Magny-Cours, but as a new rider in a team with no other leading rider since VDM’s recent injuries, Redding is at least now able to go in his own direction.
What BMW, Redding and many other combinations need is an antidote to the tiny mass and size of Bautista and his high revving, powerful Ducati V4R - the very bike Redding used to ride in WorldSBK.
Now Redding has got his head around his BMW enough to be a threat at most tracks, he feels that the BMW has most of the capabilities inside it, even if they all need to be found in a complete way. But there is that one glaring thing the Ducati/Bautista man-machine has that Redding did not have at Magny Cours…
“The only thing we are going to suffer is top speed against Alvaro,” said Redding. “It’s a bit of a joke. It’s really just a joke. Here, it was like, I exit in the slipstream and he’s just pulling and pulling and pulling and pulling. When I compare to the other guys, a little bit exit grip, a little bit of brake stability. We’re very good in brake stability, but maybe a little bit, little bit.
“I just feel the whole package is getting there and every race I’m tweaking it with the guys in between the races. Okay, we try this, we try that. Little steps. But, the big bit is done. Now it’s more the small details, which is easier but harder, because you know you’ve kind of got a base but then it’s harder to make the step.
“I feel that we are competitive. At the end of the race, I was coming strong again, which is good. I just feel that we need to manage the tyre a bit better, but at the same time, I was really trying by best to try and keep the pressure on him.
“So, there’s a lot of variables that as a rider I need to manage, which is fine. It’s hard when you just get blown to pieces in the straight, because that plan goes out the window. They say ‘tyre save’, but you have to get three-tenths back somewhere.”