Scott Redding is the new kid on the Aprilia block. The Brit has a one year contract with the Noale factory, and as he stated in the headline, he knows he has to give his very best over the next nine months. 2018 will be his 11th year in the World Championship, but the first time that he will start the season as a full factory rider.
We met Redding at the Team Aprilia presentation held in the Noale production plant. Apart from looking physically fitter then ever, Scott couldn’t hide his excitement for the start of the season the next weekend. Like all riders, he wants and needs to understand where he and his new RS GP will stand among the MotoGP field.
“Being a factory rider means more work, a lot more work, but I like it. Because in the end it is your job. When I finish the race or the test I like to go home and think for one day, write a report, speak to my crew chief, speak to my engineers… That work, you do that to improve your own machine. In my previous teams I finished the race on Sunday and I came back for the next race and we started where we left off. The actual situation motivates me a lot and I enjoy it a lot more. Even when I’m training I have an extra motivation because if I lose some weight I can improve my performance on the bike… If the team gains some weight on the bike, it improves. All these small things being on a factory team help. If you want something, they will do their best to give it to you. Do you have to work more? Yes. Do you have to work harder? Yes… But you get something in return.
“Knowing that the whole racing department is working for me gives me an extra motivation when I train; if they work hard for me, I have to work hard for them”
On my side I can pay back by giving quality information, I can do work on the track testing many things, away from the track I can reduce my weight, I can be mentally prepared, I can be physically prepared and this is exactly what I have done. I have improved in every area.
When I first came to Sepang I said to myself: Don’t even think about a lap time, don’t even think, don’t even care about it. You have this and that to test… OK, we can push a little bit more for a lap time, but to go through what we have to test has been more important to me. Working on race simulation as well, because that is what’s really important, Saturdays don’t give points. I need to know what works and what doesn’t work, why one thing works and why it doesn’t work. I have one year contract, I have to do it correctly. Now I should be ready for most situations on the race weekend.
RS GP 18
The only things that are the same comparing my Aprilia and the bike I rode last year are the wheels and the brakes! Both bikes are very different. The first time I rode the Aprilia, in Valencia, it was unbelievably different. Honestly I didn’t like the first moment on the bike, I was not happy right away. When I went from Honda to Ducati I felt immediately good, but then there was a limit. Now it’s the opposite. I feel more and more confident, more and more strong as my understanding of the bike grows. Now I feel much better with this bike, it has a more natural handling. With Ducati I always struggled to make the bike turn and I always go hard into the corner, so I was making my own problem worse. With the Aprilia I can prepare the corner, take the speed and I can feel the benefit. The bike talks to me, I’m on the limit and I can feel the limit, so then I can go more; it is impressive. For me it is a big step forward from the bike I had last year.
“The only things that are the same comparing my Aprilia and the bike I rode last year are the wheels and the brakes!”
We struggled a lot with the braking until the Doha test, but we made a big step there and now we are quite comfortable with the braking. Entrance into the corner: I think the main feeling here is down to the tire. I saw many riders struggling with the front tire and some movement, but it was the same for everyone, not exclusive to the Aprilia.
Mid corner I feel really good with this bike. I have a lot of speed while turning and the bike transmits a lot of confidence. And the acceleration on exit was due to a few things; some mechanical grip, some electronic…In Doha, from day 1 to 2 we found something mechanically that helped, from day 2 to 3 we found something electronically that also helped. The two together meant a good step, so I am happy. And when I follow other guys I can do exactly the same as they do. Last year this wasn’t possible, I rode into the braking too hard, I missed the apex of the corner, I didn’t exit well, too much angle. Now, if the guy who is in front of me holds a tighter line I can hold a tighter line, if they pick up I pick. I can relay this back to the engineers and they con provide me something more.
“Until the first race you don’t know where you stand. After Qatar we’ll have clearer picture”.
The championship is difficult. My goal is to finish the races in the top 8. When you see Aleix’s results from last year and consider how much our bike has improved, I think it’s possible. But I don’t want to put any extra pressure on myself because in the end we don’t know what’s possible. Until the first race you don’t know where you stand. After Qatar we’ll have clearer picture. We will see where we are at the beginning of the race, at the end of the race, what we can improve…