Scott Redding is on his way to the Circuito de Jerez in southern Spain for the opening test of the 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship. A runner-up to Jonathan Rea and Kawasaki in the 2020 WSBK World Tour, Redding is looking for bigger and better things this season, and he and the Aruba.it Ducati WSBK outfit hope to win the brand’s first WorldSBK title since Spain’s Carlos Checa was triumphant on the Ducati 1098R in 2011.
“I believe that I can be champion,” Redding told this writer recently. “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.”
Testing will now hit top gear the world over as Redding, Ducati and the entire World Superbike community begin sorting their respective programs out for the opening round of the 2021 WSBK season set for the TT Assen Circuit, The Netherlands on April 23-25, 2021.
Q: I spoke to you this time last year when you were about to embark upon your first true season in WSBK. I could tell how determined you were about succeeding. For the most part, did it all go to plan?
SCOTT REDDING: We were in the fight, you know? I can see that I’ve got the opportunity to do it. I went in there and the goal was to win the title, but now that I see how close I got last year, I know I’ve got a good chance this year to have a good go at it
Q: Even with the Jerez test about to get started, there is still a tremendous amount of uncertainty present regarding COVID-19.
SR: Well, I would kind of say that everyone is kind of getting used to it now. We kind of know how to deal with it all properly now. The problem is if the events are allowed to run or not to run. You want to know where you can be and prepare for the off-season. Everything right now is kind of on standby, instead of knowing exact times and dates. We’ve now got start season dates for the end of April for the first race of the season, but I’m not saying we are going to 100-percent start. No matter what, though, I’m going to be ready for that time. It’s just understanding how to be prepared for this tricky situation and where you need to be and when to be there.
Q: There was quite a bit of movement within the World Superbike community during the off-season. It’s early and a lot of things have yet to happen, but how do you see the competitive playing field?
SR: It was quite good. It was good to see that the different manufacturers are all so strong at different circuits and in different weather conditions. Garrett Gerloff got much stronger at the end of the year, which was quite nice to see. Chaz Davies was coming on strong at the end of the year, which was also good. Toprak Razgatioglu was there a lot of the time. Consistency is the biggest key, however, and that’s what we need to work on because that’s the strong point of Jonathan Rea. If we can get consistency in, we know we can be competitive at all the races.
Q: There has been talk in recent years that the Ducati effort has been spectacularly quick, but perhaps the consistency needs to be better addressed. Thoughts?
SR: Yeah, when you look back and you look at our bike, it is very new, They’ve only had it now two seasons, so it’s not like they’ve been developing the bike like Kawasaki. Kawasaki has had the same bike, more or less, for five, six, seven years. This Ducati is a new project, so there is always little things that we need to improve, you know? The old Ducati was quite consistent and I believe that our bike is very consistent. It’s just weak in one or two areas, but that’s the one or two areas that we know that we can work on. If we can improve that the rest of our package is super-strong.
Q: With you on the Ducati in 2020 and Alvaro Bautista racing the Ducati in 2019, both of you excelled immediately and were rocket-fast the first half of season. However, in both years, the Ducati was not as fast the second half of season.
SR: That doesn’t really make sense to me because in Estoril we was the fastest in every single session. I had to start from the back of the grid due to the crash in qualifying. Ducati was first and second in the last race of the season, so I don’t really agree with that. At Magny-Cours, it was wet and I had never been there, and I won the last race and just missed out two other podiums.
It wasn’t that we were dropping off; we were super-strong. It’s just some circuits suit other bikes. This where having the same bike for years, you’ll fine-tune it to where when you ride the track on your Kawasaki, you’ll know exactly what’s got to go into the bike. Whereas, when I ride a track, it’s still fresh for the Ducati V4 R, and I sometimes don’t know the track, so it is setting up electronics and tuning the tires is a long process for us. But if you look to all of the races, by the end of the weekend we was always on the podium or even winning races at tracks we don’t know, so it shows that we were building momentum. We were coming from zero, where as other guys and other manufacturers already know where to start.
Q: What does Rea and Kawasaki have that Redding and Ducati does not?
SR: What’s the word I’m looking for? Not experience, but basically we turn up to a track and we’ve got Kawasaki and Jonathan Rea, and they’ve been together on the same package for five years. So five years on the same package, on the same tracks with the same rider making the same result. It’s like routine for them.
Whereas I didn’t know some of the tracks – I’ve never raced World Superbike – and the bike was very new, so 2021 should be a lot stronger for us. We’ve got the equipment and we’ve got the knowledge from the tracks. I don’t need to learn anything. I don’t need to learn anything. I don’t need how to earn how the three races go. I’ve got confidence that I can fight to win. I’ve got the experience to be there. I’ve got all that ticked off my list where I can now focus on winning.