Author: Oli Rushby in Valencia Posted: 10 Nov 2015
Scott Redding enjoyed a strong first day’s testing with his new Pramac Ducati team in Valencia today.
The British rider was one of the first riders out of his box in the sunshine at the Ricardo Tormo circuit this morning and was able to match his race pace from Sunday almost immediately. He set the eleventh fastest time of the day and was faster than nine-times World Champion Valentino Rossi.
“The team is great, already I feel very welcome and I’m happy with the bike,” Redding said. “In my first laps I was already at a similar level to before. It was a good step, I already find it easy to ride and find the lines. Even with the Michelin tyres I felt OK, we had a small crash in the afternoon because we pushed a lot with the soft tyre but tomorrow we have some space to improve.
“There’s more power but you can use it, you’re early on the gas, on the straights the bike is more level and not making a big wheelie and for me this was a big advantage not to fight all the time with the bike, you can find a line where you want to go. That for me is nice to have in your pocket. The power is unbelievable. Everyone calls this bike a beast but it’s actually quite nice."
Redding endured a tough season with Honda’s RC213V this year, often feeling he was having to fight with the bike rather than ride it. One of the reasons for the 22-year-old’s move to Ducati was that he had hoped the bike would better suit his riding style, and he hasn’t been disappointed so far.
“It suits my riding style so much,” he continued. “It’s a big change but in the right direction. It’s not like I need this, this or this. The tank is feeling good, the position I’m in, in the straight I don’t have to move so much and that for me is the main thing, there are nearly four or five things that I can forget and that means we can focus on the bike, the entry and actually think about riding for once and not just making a lap.”
It’s not just a new bike Redding has to familiarise himself with for 2016. With Michelin taking over as MotoGP’s sole tyre supplier he has to get used to the new rubber as well as the new spec-electronics.
“I feel quite good on the Michelins. The rear is OK, I tried the hard but it wasn’t great at this circuit and with the front I only tried the soft which was a bit too soft but tomorrow we’ll try the hard. I couldn’t get the temperature in to the harder rear, the front tyre isn’t bad but you have to change your riding style as you can’t attack the corners as hard as you could on the Bridgestone.
“The software didn’t feel too bad. I felt okay straight away. They said the anti-wheelie wasn’t too good but I felt okay with it. For me it was good to start with next year’s software. We thought it was a better idea to start with the new electronics rather than giving me something better than I might have when it comes to next year.
“The traction control works really well for coming out of corners, the tyres also help but you can also control it with your hand a lot more than you can on the Honda. Everything was easier, I could make laps, feel quite comfortable and look to improve.”
Redding was one of 12 riders to crash during today’s test as they work on finding the limits of Michelin’s new tyres.
“A couple of times today the front started to close on me when I loaded too much, same speed, same angle and brake release, but just half a metre later on the gas and then I overload it. You couldn’t do that with the Bridgestone but you can on the soft Michelin.”
Content with the day’s work, Redding is confident of improving even further… “We had more in our pocket, even when I made my fastest lap time we made quite a few mistakes as with the softer front tyre we couldn’t really turn the bike in so I was surprised that the lap time was two tenths faster than I did in qualifying with the Honda and it came quite easy. I did the same time with used tyres and in the afternoon again I was faster, faster and made the same time again so pushed a bit more and that’s when I had the crash.
“Overall the feeling is really good, I feel like I’ve been in the team a year already! The plan is to have a lot of support from Ducati. Whether it’s in Pramac or factory Ducati want the bikes to be at the front and you feel that help and that helps me as a rider that they want to help me win.”