WorldSBK Phillip Island: ‘Mistake’ gives Redding unexpected pace

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Scott Redding’s move to BMW from Ducati for 2022 could be labelled as ‘jumped before he was pushed’ after two years of wins and but no title in 2020 and 21.

He went from riding a guaranteed winning bike, at least sometimes, to a first ride in Motorland Aragon this spring that he himself described as a disaster. But at Phillip Island at the end of the season, and after three podium rides at different styles of circuits, Redding was sixth in the final race of the year, having been sixth in the wet-ish Superpole race that morning.

He was a little unsure himself why his Sunday exceeded his no-scoring Saturday, but he did find something a bit strange on day one that finally helped him.

“Something that was quite weird for us yesterday was when I came in and put the slick tyres on for the flag-to-flag, I had the rain setting in the bike,” Redding explained after his successful Sunday. “Then I went out for the flag-to-flag and I came in and I said, ‘that’s the best the bike has felt all year.’ So, there was a lot of confusion. I said ‘feeling, lap time, I don’t know’, but feeling especially here, it turned the bike completely. I had fun.

“For four laps, the first time this weekend, I enjoyed it. We need to understand what’s going on, because in the rain I have zero grip and in the dry I have zero grip. With the rain setting in the dry, I was getting grip.

“So, we tried something in the morning warmup to go a bit harder in a different character. I said, ‘I don’t really feel good. Just put it back. Felt good yesterday, got nothing really to lose. We’re not fighting for a championship’.

“I went off to the start. Got a really good start. For the first five laps, I was feeling good. I thought, this is it. Then I started to realise that I’m using a lot of tyre to stay there and the bike is moving a bit but I had fun. The bike was working. Compared to this weekend, I was struggling a lot, a lot, a lot, to being competitive at least in the beginning. So that was it, really. We just, by mistake, came across something quite interesting that we can explore for the future. Obviously going into races, it’s quite difficult, but I raced basically my rain setting with some adjustments this afternoon.”

Picture: GeeBee Images