Britain’s Scott Redding and Spain’s Pol Espargaro slugged it out like two heavyweight boxers during the Moto2 race at Assen today and they came across the line just 0.117s apart with Espargaro’s last lap move into turn 1 proving to be the decisive lead change. It was an extremely tight finish for the Championship’s top two riders, both it seems destined for a step up to the pinnacle of the sport, with MotoGP teams circling like vultures ahead of next season.
“I really tried to win, he just had a bit more in the last sector and a bit more top speed too. My bike’s a little bigger, we had to modify the fairings because my shoulders stick out a bit so that affected the aerodynamics.” said a happy Redding.
“It was an aggressive move into turn 1 but I was expecting it. I tried to get him back but didn’t have the momentum, it’s all corners there and he certainly had the advantage in the second half of the lap”
“I’m trying to be as consistent as possible (for the Championship) but I really wanted it today. In Barcelona I couldn’t stay with Espargaro’s speed so I knew it was a case of trying to get maximum points”
Redding started from 2nd place on the grid, behind Espargaro, and following early pressure from Dominique Aegerter, it was the top two in title contention who followed each other trading places throughout the race. As each lap passed, Espargaro became more and more ragged whilst Redding stayed close behind, assessing his competitor’s every move. When Redding moved to the front and began stretching away, it looked like he’d played the perfect tactical race by saving his own tyres and pouncing with less than five laps remaining. However, the younger of the Espargaro brothers had a different plan and slipped up the inside of Redding into turn one on the last lap and clung on to cross the line by a bike’s length.
Despite his 5th podium from 2013’s 7 races thus far, Redding sees his Championship lead trimmed to 30 points although the gap is still more than what is on offer for a race win (25) and with the Moto2 and Moto3 bikes not racing in Laguna Seca after the next round at the Sachsenring in Germany (14th July), the Gloucestershire lad can be assured of taking his lead to Indianapolis on 18th August.
Ahead of Sachsenring, Scott will be taking part in a Supermoto race in Belgium for charity tomorrow and his competitive nature is shining through, “I was invited to take part and even though some of the guys from the Belgian championship will be racing, my plan is to win but I’ve got to be careful on the dirt sections because I haven’t practised on them.” he said.
Talking about his prospects ahead of the next round, Scott was in a positive mood, “I’ve struggled there with chatter before but I feel like I’ve got a good rhythm at the moment and I’ve changed my riding style so I hope to be fighting for the win. It would be good to beat Espargaro and extend my championship lead going into the summer break.”
And Redding was full of admiration for MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo who, within the space of 48 hours had fractured his left collar bone, flown to Barcelona for a two and half hour operation, flown back to the Netherlands and finished 5th in the race. “Full respect to him for even trying to race let alone finishing. He just wanted it although you could see he was in pain during the race.”