This week, Marc VDS Moto2 rider Scott Redding was at the Mugello circuit in Italy, getting his first experience aboard the Ducati Desmosedici GP12.
Redding, currently fifth in the Moto2 Championship, completed 127 laps over the two days, posting a best time under the 1:50 mark (circuit record at Mugello is 1:47.705 set by Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa this year).
Redding’s appearance on the Ducati brings about much speculation, especially since its uncertain who will be riding for the Ducati teams in 2012 MotoGP. As for the factory Ducati Team, the only rider confirmed is Nicky Hayden, who signed a one-year extension. As for Valentino Rossi – the rider that said Redding is an upcoming star – he’s future is still uncertain, the nine-time World Champion not giving any clues about his whereabouts in 2013.
Then there’s the Ducati satellite teams; Cardion Racing’s Karel Abraham has struggled with injury and the GP12, missing four races this year. And Pramac Racing Ducati’s Hector Barbera is currently out with a broken fibula and tibia.
There’s a huge possibility that Redding may pilot a Ducati in 2013 MotoGP. The other possibility is current Speed Master Moto2 rider Andrea Iannone, who also tested the Ducati GP12 at Mugello.
Following is an interview with Redding, the Brit discussing his experience on the Ducati and offering some speculation on the future:
Q. Do you think there´s a genuine chance you´d be riding this bike next year?
Scott Redding: “I don’t know. Filippo Preziosi seemed pretty happy with the lap time and my enthusiasm, I just kept going at it and going at it. I think they were happy with how I´ve performed over the two days. I´ve done all I can do, I think to go under 1´50 on my second day of riding the bike was pretty good really.”
Q. Will it worry you if Rossi leaves Ducati?
Scott Redding: “It will a little bit because that´s where all the development is coming form. He´s had a lot of experience with the bike but then on the other hand Nicky´s got good experience there so we´ll just have to see how it goes.”
Q. How was your first MotoGP experience?
Scott Redding: “It was hard but fun and definitely more than I expected. The main problem was the speed at the end of the straight, that was the hardest thing for me. I wasn´t expecting it to be so fast and here at the end of the straight over the crest when it´s trying to wheelie, that was another problem.
“Some things were easier, like the cornering, but it was harder to hold on to it in some places and harder to find the time in other places because obviously with the traction control you´re more limited, so it´s more about how you ride the bike to get around the traction control. That´s what I found the hardest thing.”
Q. How are you feeling after the test now?
Scott Redding: “I was really happy. For the first two days to go under 1´50 was pretty nice, it´s what I wanted to do. It was my target and we made the target and I felt comfortable. We tried some soft tires but I didn’t get on with them very well, the temperature was too hot and there was too much movement from them. There was so much to learn and we were changing things like engine brake and engine speed. You can change it corner by corner but with Moto2 you either have more engine brake in every corner or less in every corner. That´s what I´ve found quite good, that you can change corner by corner because that´s something I´ve struggled with in Moto2, I would like to change things by corner but you can´t you can only change it in a whole lap.”
Q. How does it compare to Moto2?
Scott Redding: “I think it suits me more to be honest. I don’t think I would have lasted another day though because it´s so hard on the body, it´s the first time I´ve ridden anything bigger than a Moto2 so it definitely took a toll on the body, more than I expected. Just because of all the change of directions and all the braking and also mentally, because there´s a lot of things you’ve got to concentrate on. At the end I enjoyed it and I think it´s the direction I need to go in.”
Q. What do you make of the Ducati?
Scott Redding: “It feels quite good. The turning and the traction feel not too bad for the first laps but the thing I didn’t like was it was quite heavy in the change of direction.
“Nicky and Vale have struggled a lot with the front end feel, what was your experience of that?
Well the front wasn’t really a big issue but when I started doing the sub-50s I started to feel more unexpected feelings on the front so I can imagine what they´re feeling. But at the speed I was doing it´s not a real big issue. It´s pushing quite hard but I´d need to do another second to be where the factory guys are.”
Q. What sort of feedback were you giving the team?
Scott Redding: “Everything, corner by corner, traction, entry, the traction control, anti-wheelie, power delivery, brake control. It was a shakedown on everything every time really.”
Q. Do you think you can adapt your riding style to make it work with this bike?
Scott Redding: “In the beginning it was pretty good but then when I started to relax on the bike it actually got better, I had to start to use a lot more rear brake, which I´ve spent a year learning not to use in Moto2. It was just getting better and better as I got more time on the bike.”
Q. What feedback did the team give you?
Scott Redding: “We overlaid some data with Valentino´s so I could learn a bit. The think is there is no one here to follow so I don’t know how to ride the bike other than instinct and my own talent. So we overlaid the data just to see what was worse and what was better so it was quite good to have that in advance.”
Q. Were you using any of Nicky´s data?
Scott Redding: “No because Rossi was the slower of the two here so for me it was better to go with his data. Also it´s his home track and he has good lines here.”
Q. Do you feel you´ll have to change your training for MotoGP?
Scott Redding: “I don’t think it´s so much about changing the training, I think it´s more about getting used to the bike because it´s quite tense, I was having seat foamers put on. When you have your own bike and you get relaxed and you´ve ridden it a few times it comes. I had the same problem when I first got to Moto2 but I think it´s definitely going to be a little bit different training and a bit harder. This bike it so heavy to change direction it just drains you.”
Q. How was the experience of working with an all Italian team?
Scott Redding: “To be honest it was good. They listened to what I had to say and I think they believed in me, which is a good thing. The things I say and the things they see add up which helped me a bit and they gave me my time to do it. These guys get stuff done.”
Q. So a positive two days?
Scott Redding: “Yeah it was good, I was really happy with it.”