Interview: Scott Redding

Interview: Scott Redding

Bikes

Interview: Scott Redding

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“It’s not all about money and all that stuff. For me, it’s about winning.”

Scott Redding, from Gloucestershire, England, won the 2019 British Superbike Championship atop a Ducati Panigale V4 R, and then was able to take possession of his new Aruba.it Ducati WorldSBK team V4 R and set the fastest time on the final day of WorldSBK testing at Spain’s MotorLand Aragon circuit.

From there, it was a three-podium outing at the 2020 WorldSBK season opener at Philip Island on the first day of March, which now has the iconoclastic Englishman second on the WSBK points table. Out to score Ducat’s first WSBK title since 2011 when Carlos Checa did the deed on the 1098R, Redding, a former standout MotoGP contender, has the speed, strength and self confidence to contend for a WSBK world crown.

With all this in mind, and with the coronavirus throwing everyone into odd situations and scenarios, we were surprised to learn that Redding was actually in Malibu, California this past weekend, and that’s where we found him on Sunday afternoon.

Q: How long have you been out here?

SCOTT REDDING: A week and half now. I was supposed to go back on Thursday, but everything is closed.

Q: So you’re stuck here in the Golden State for a while?

SR: Yeah, I think so, but it’s not too bad. There could be worse places.
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Q: What have you been doing with yourself during this period of lockdown?

SR: To be honest, it’s not been too bad, because the only thing that’s been a problem is the gym being closed. I  wanted to do a lot of home training, but you can’t even get any equipment to build a home gym. I’ve just been doing real basic stuff to keep fit and active. I want to be ready for when we start again, but apart from that, I’ve been trying to use this time as a kind of recovery holiday because when the racing starts again, it’s going to be non-stop.

Q: Have you been up to any boxing? I know you’re really into that sport.

SR: Well, all the boxing places have been closed so I’ve just been training on stuff like hand speed and reactions. I don’t have a punch bag, so that’s really an issue at the moment.

Q: Have you been in contact with the Aruba.it Ducati WSBK team?

SR: Yeah, I’ve been in contact with them a bit. Obviously, they’re Italian, so they’re having big issues at the moment, but they’ve keeping me updated and have been calling and just checking in to see if everyone is doing well and supporting each other, really.

Q: I was thinking about you when the WorldSBK organizers called pause on the 2020 season, because even though you guys only raced at Phillip Island, you were right there as a top-three competitor, and one who appeared to be about to go on a roll. Thoughts?

SR: Yeah, the pre-season testing went really good. I was just working on my own things, really. I was just getting myself all comfortable and not worrying about the others. In the first race weekend, it was a bit like last year for me. I didn’t want to go out and do anything stupid. I just wanted to go out and get some points on the board in all three races to understand how the guys race. I didn’t want to go out and blow out the rear tire and drop back, or anything like that. We came away from Australia with second in the championship and three podiums, and we were also in the fight for the win in the first two races. So I’m just overall quite happy, really.

Q: I was going to say to you that once we go back to racing, you have to be pretty thrilled to know your house is in such good order, huh?

SR: Oh yeah, that’s the big thing now. I knew that I could run with these guys anyway, and I can beat these guys. I think actually that you need to do it to know you can do it. You know with the testing, I actually wasn’t that comfortable with the bike; I really struggled with the bike in getting it to do certain things. The problem with the bike was that it was very stiff, but we managed to get it working on the race weekend, which was really important for us.

Q: I knew that you had left MotoGP and Aprilia behind in 2018, but I didn’t realize that the British Superbike Championship you won last year had such a profound effect in galvanizing your racing career.

SR: That’s the big thing, really. Two years ago I didn’t want to race anymore. I kind of lost the reason of why I was racing. It’s not all about money and all that stuff. For me it’s about winning, and if I can’t win or be competitive to win, I almost think, what’s the point in racing? And that’s what I came to in MotoGP. I couldn’t win regardless of any situation and I thought, what am I doing this for? I then went to British Superbike and had that fight, fire and hunger and desire to win. I actually want to go out and race, and that’s my take on World Superbike.

Q: The Aruba.it Ducati WorldSBK team is a very strong outfit. You ultimately found your way on to championship caliber team, eh?

SR: Yeah, I mean a lot of people thought it was going to go not-so-good because I didn’t know the British tracks; I’ve never really raced there. I’d only raced on big, open GP tracks, not the British small circuits with the walls next to you and all that stuff. But I liked that. It just put more fuel onto my fire of being competitive. I won the title there the first year, and not many people have done that. It just showed people that I had put myself back on the map, because a lot of people had thought that I had my day and I was run down and that’s it, the end of Scott Redding. However, I knew inside that that wasn’t the case, and now I’ve shown that I have this opportunity to be on a factory team in World Superbike, and I want to win that world title too.

Q: Nothing beats winning, does it?

SR: Yeah, that’s why I believe that I can be a champion. I was brought up to be a champion. That’s the only reason we went racing. We went racing to win titles, and to win races, and to be fighting at the top. I don’t know how to put it, but when I went to MotoGP, I came from Moto2, where I finished second in the world championship. I lost it to injury. I went to MotoGP and I maybe got a bit lost on what I was racing for. I got to MotoGP, and it wasn’t, ‘job done’ and I can take a year to adapt to the bike and this and that, and it just never really progressed.

I think I just got a little bit lost in that situation of not getting the right machinery to get the right results. You kind of accept where you are, and I accepted it. I accepted eight place, and thought it was OK. Then I accepted 12th and that was OK, and before I knew it and before I realized it, I thought, ‘What in the f@#$ are you doing? That’s when I kind of had a bit of a meltdown on racing and then came back with vengeance.

When I finished in GP, I left on a real low. I thought I’d try this BSB thing and I said to my manager, “Get me a bike and a team that win and I’ll show them that I can win.” That was the fire that I had to win. If I didn’t win the championship, my career was going to go to dirt and that’s what was at stake. Now I feel I’ve got back in the pocket, and it has given me another step forward, another gear, and I’m believing in myself again. It is like, “You can win. You are the best out there.” That’s a big part of it in racing. It’s a mental game.

Q: How do you like being teamed with Chaz Davies?

SR: I really like Chaz. I used to race at his karting track when I was a kid. I used to race at his track, and I remember him giving out the trophies. We’ve always gotten along well, so from the beginning of this new deal it was like having a friendship more than it was having a teammate. I think it is really good for the team that we don’t clash. We work together. He doesn’t have an ego, and yes, we get along really, really well. I really appreciate that from him and the team. He’s a great guy and he’s a great rider and he has a baby on the way, so I wish him all the best with that.

Q: When the WSBK people announce that it is time to go racing again, do you think it’ll take a little while to hit critical mass, or do you feel confident that you’ll be in full stride?

SR: I know I’ll hit the ground running. It just makes me more hungry to win. That first WSBK race of the year, that was just me finding where I needed to be. You know when you go to your job for the first day and you don’t really know anyone and you just keep your head down and stay out of trouble? I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t know what was going on, but now I know I can focus on fighting for wins.

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