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Saturday images from round 1 of the 2020 WSBK Championship


Mar 022020

Scott Redding, native of Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England, not only wrapped up the fiercely fought 2019 British Superbike Championship aboard a Ducati Panigale V4 R, but was also able to immediately climb atop his new Ducati WorldSBK team V4 R and set the fastest time on the final day of WorldSBK testing at the MotorLand Aragon circuit in rain lashed Spain. What’s more last weekend at the season opener at Philip Island, Australia, Redding took podiums in every race and sits second in the championship. Not a bad start at all.

A former podium-caliber MotoGP rider, Redding possesses the speed, skill and self-confidence required to make a run at an FIM world title. Before jumping on a plane to head to Australia we caught up with Redding to get a read on his immediate and near future. On a mission to bring home Ducat’s first WSBK title since 2011 (Carlos Checa made it happen on the1098R), he had plenty to talk about…

" It was just part of my plan, you know. I did what I needed to do to prove myself and now I’ve got this factory ride in World Superbike and plan to win the title with some strong races."

When the clocks stopped at the first WorldSBK test at the Motorland Aragon circuit your name was atop of the timing monitors. Certainly, an excellent first outing. To that end, I’m going to guess you’re rolling into the off-season with some confidence behind you. Thoughts?

Yeah, I’ve got quite a lot of confidence behind me because of winning the British Superbike Championship. To go to the first test and to be second the first day and then closing the gap to where I was the fastest on the second day with the top-flight guys there was excellent. It was only the fast guys there, so I knew we had done well.

Exactly. You closed down the 2019 season with quite a bit of momentum. British Superbike champion…

To win the British Superbike Championship was really good. It was just part of my plan, you know. I did what I needed to do to prove myself and now I’ve got this factory ride in World Superbike and plan to win the title with some strong races. And to get on this new bike and perform lie we have is right where I need to be at this moment.

" I was always trying to learn every day and now that is kind of helping me."

As far as all the mechanical variables go, how similar are the Ducati Panigale V4R you won the British title upon and the Ducati V4 R you’ll ride this season?

Yeah, I mean they are the same bike. In World Superbike they use bigger tires, electronics, a different exhaust because they’re allowed a louder bike so the bike has a bit more speed you have some control with the electronics that you can play with and some tires that probably give you a bit more grip and support. Basically, with the World Superbike, everything is a little bit better but the actual base of it is the same.

Regarding your new teammate Chaz Davies, as well as Jonathan Rea, Michael van der Mark and all the other usual WSBK suspects you were out amongst at Aragon, what your very first thoughts about the competition?

I was quite intrigued to see how I would fare up with them. To be honest, I know I can beat them. That’s where I’m at in my head right now. I don’t want to sound too big headed, but to be honest, I know I can beat those guys. I wouldn’t have taken this challenge if I knew I couldn’t win. It’s not going to be easy by a longshot because you have Jonathan Rea, a five-time World Champion with the same bike and same team that he started with. I feel like I can challenge those guys and seeing them on track and riding with them in the same conditions and seeing that I’m actually on their level is pretty good for me.

Between MotoGP, British Superbike and now World Superbike, you’ve strung together quite the resume. You’re going into the 2020 WSBK season well versed, aren’t you?

The biggest things that I took from MotoGP are actually my race knowledge and my racecraft. My experience throughout races and working with electronics like that has really been helpful quite a bit. I had a few years in MotoGP, but when I look back now, I was always trying to learn every day and now that is kind of helping me.

"Give me the good machinery and I will show you that I can make results."

In the recent racing media, there have been quite a few headlines centering on the fact that you will be a very serious threat to win the 2020 WSBK title. Have you taken notice of any of that stuff?

Yeah, I mean people forget that I was, up to the last year, the youngest ever rider to win a World Championship race.   (Note: On June 22, 2008 at Donington Park Redding won the British 125cc Grand Prix at 15 years and 170 days of age). I’ve fought for a Moto2 title. I just lost that due to injury. I fought many times for podiums in Moto2. I fought for podiums in MotoGP and that was types of with machinery that was not capable of those results. Last year with Aprilia was just the nail in the coffin for me to get out of there. I said to my manager, “Get me a new bike and a team that can win and let me show to you and everyone out there that I can win. I was nothing to talk about and now that I’ve shown myself people are thinking, f***k, this guy is what he said it is. I do believe that I’m still that guy and now I feel better with confidence. People have just seen the start of me. Give me the good machinery and I will show you that I can make results.

It isn’t too hard to determine the difference between a racer who is out there and competing and one who truly wants to win. What do you think?

That’s the only reason why I do it. I don’t do it to be famous. I go to earn my money. It’s my job. I’m risking my life. I have a passion for winning. I was in MotoGP and finishing sixteenth or seventeenth and I’m not interested in that. I would rather ride for a lot less money and fight to win than a lot of money and no results. That’s the way I tick. I don’t really enjoy riding, I enjoy being successful and that’s what I work my ass off to do. I work to get results. When I was in MotoGP, every year the candle was kind of getting lower and lower and the last year it was like, “Okay, I’m done. I need to start winning again. I need to have the right bike and team to do it.” Now I’ve got that in World Superbike and I’ve shown already from the beginning that I do have some potential.

"I really feel like Ducati believes in me and that I can win, and I know they are behind me."

Ducati hasn’t won a World Superbike title in a decade. Can you be the guy to bring the big trophy back to Italy?

I want to be the guy to do it. It would mean a lot to me and to them. It would open a few more doors for me. Like I said, if I didn’t think that I had a chance to do it, then I wouldn’t really entertain it. I believe they can. It is one of the best bikes on the grid. [Alvaro] Bautista won last twelve, thirteen, fourteen races on the bike last year. They could have done a couple of things differently to win that title quite comfortably last year, but it is what it is and it ain’t what it ain’t. I’ve got that opportunity now and I want to do everything I can to be ready to fight for it. It’s not going to be easy, but I do know I have a good chance to do it. I really feel like Ducati believes in me and that I can win, and I know they are behind me.

There has been a lot of chatter in the media proclaiming you’re a throwback to the days of Scott Russell, Carl Fogarty, Colin Edwards and Max Biaggi. How do you see it all?

Yeah, I’ve got mad character. In MotoGP it was probably frowned upon a little bit, but    in British Superbike they just let me go and do what I wanted to do, and it really brought energy to the series. The fans loved it. The other riders loved it. The team loved it. I believe that is what racing should be. We shouldn’t be robots being told what we can and cannot say. We should be straight, and we should be straight, and we should be honest, and we should have fun. I really want to take that with me to World Superbike. I believe that’s what they want. They want riders that are fast, and they entertain on the track and off the track. At the end of the day I know I’m an entertainer and I want to fulfill that. You can’t fulfill that when you’re being told what to do. I’ve got a lot of character and a lot of friends with a lot of character, so we bounce off each other. I work hard in the week and I go racing on the weekend and I enjoy it to the best that I can.