BSB

EXCLUSIVE: Redding on BSB, Ducati & why he 'f***ing hates' electronics

"I don't have any excuses and I never use excuses. If I'm riding shit, I'll say it's me..."

Animated, opinionated, principled, Scott Redding cut a bold and brash figure during his time in MotoGP.

It’s no mean feat in a championship brimming with characters and where the ‘brand’ is almost as potent as whatever you do on a Sunday afternoon, yet Redding went on to give the ‘cool Britannia’ representation an edginess arguably missing from his British MotoGP counterparts.

Yet for all the showmanship in photos, the candid interviews and, in the case of his final (for now) MotoGP race, a full-on striptease, it seems only now that the smile on Redding’s face is genuine because he is – as he says – actually happy.

Sat in his motorhome between first and second practice at Donington Park, we’re talking before he’d go on to collect a trio of terrific race wins later that weekend, but already the buzz he is lapping up from competing in BSB is palpable.

“I'm smiling, I'm relaxed. I'm actually enjoying racing again,” he told Crash.net. “Which is something I haven't done for a couple of years now, so I'm really happy from that side - as a rider you really want to enjoy what you do. It's been great, the fans have been mega, took to me really well. The paddock has been good. That's it, I'm enjoying it more than I thought I would, which is a real good thing!

Indeed, even the ‘little things’ of seeing friends more regularly and sleeping in his own bed on a Sunday have made their mark.

“I always enjoyed my home GPs, so now I'm back almost every weekend, which is a big thing for me… a massive thing for me.

“I've got good friends around me, which sounds stupid but it's something you don't have when you're driving around the world. you've got work on each week so that's kind of the best thing about it for me.”

One of the biggest – certainly most unexpected – rider signing coups in BSB history, the confirmation of Redding’s arrival with Paul Bird Motorsport’s Be Wiser team aboard its fresh new Ducati Panigale V4 R drew a blend surprise and interest, even if it quickly – somewhat inevitably - descended into a debate over whether literally fall flat on a machine more gnarly than he is used to or whether he’d sprint away with ease.

Thus far, neither has been apparent which is a shining validation for both the rider and the series.

Indeed, Redding understands the consequences of his actions, accepting his illustrious repertoire makes him an automatic favourite even before you consider the performance of the bike beneath him.

With this in mind, though the man himself is keen to play down this natural assumption, refreshingly he admits there is ultimately no excuse for him not to succeed either because he isn’t ‘riding a shitbox’.

“The first target is to win the championship,” he continued. “Everyone is expecting it from me which I can fully understand. I was a GP rider, I'm only 26, they say he's still got it and I believe I've still got it.

“So, it is my target, but on the same hand, obviously I don't know most of the circuits, I don't know Superbikes, I don't know the Pirellis and I haven't raced without electronics for about five years. It's a big difference and I'm throwing myself in at the deep end.

“A lot of people forget and think a bike is a bike, but it's very true there are a lot of parameters around each bike, which to go fast you need to understand. I've taken good steps and it's belief in my talent again. I jumped straight into Superbikes and I was fast, I've gone to tracks I don't know and have been pretty fast. So that for me is a great thing. I didn't doubt myself, I just thought am I’m going be able to do it. I'm riding for me with one of the best bikes out on the track with the best team in the paddock.

“I don't have any excuses and I never use excuses. If I'm riding shit, I'll say it's me. I'm always quite black and white with these things. That's why I said if you can get a good bike and team I will fight for the championship. And I truly believe it. If I didn't believe it, I wouldn't say it. So, when you've got a machine that can do it, the pressure is different - it's almost like a positive pressure which helps me to go faster and that's what I like about racing.

“It's different when you've got a shitbox that doesn't do anything and they expect you to ride it to the podium, then the problem is you, but you know the problem is not you and there's nothing you can do. That's the thing, I didn't want to make excuses I never make excuses if the bike isn't working well then I'll say it but I'm a professional, I've done it for many years now and I know if a bike isn’t right on the road and that's what I'm trying to do, just feel step-by-step each weekend.”

For a rider that has developed his craft on the international stage from the early days, famously becoming the youngest rider to win a GP event at Donington Park in 2008 aged only 15-years old, Redding is very reticent to the idea of using electronics to control a bike, believing in the skill of feeling what is beneath you and recognising exactly where the limit is directly through the tyres, rather than via a computer.

With BSB foregoing electronics, Redding admits the prospect of adapting to a Superbike without aides was daunting.

Nevertheless, when PBM offered to add electronics initially during testing to help his transition, Redding immediately rejected them and threw himself in at the deep end – to an intoxicating reaction of enjoyment and fear.

“To be fair, I fucking hate electronics… I mean, I fucking hate it! So, having a bike with no electronics on it the first day, back then they wanted to add them [to help transition] and I said, ‘mate, fucking take them off!”

“I know I've got experience, I know I've got more electronics and it's going to be different and I came up and said ‘fuck that’, it's all in the hands every turn is different and it brings purity out of a rider,

“That for me is racing, it makes more real for everybody. What you’re doing with your hand is what's happening at the rear wheel and the front wheel, you can't slack at all. The thing is with electronics is you get a bit fucking lazy and you know you've got a routine. You are doing 125 laps and you can do that 10 laps in a row, give or take three tenths because you know you can do that.

“But when you don't have electronics you need a little more you've got nothing that's going to save that slide, if you don't do it correctly. You’re going to lose speed, so you have to be very on what you actually do on the bike."

The rawness on track is matched by the ‘back to basics’ approach off it too. Indeed, though some high-profile riders baulk at the prospect of fans and media mingling just outside the garage doors or leaning into hospitality, the actively welcoming relationship BSB has with its supporters is a big reason as to why it now routinely smashes World Superbikes’ in terms of spectator numbers both in the UK and even in key European markets like Spain and Italy.

As such, while he may come from MotoGP, Redding is more than willing to adapt to his surroundings than have BSB work for him, and he is impressed with the product and rulebook MSV have created against the grain of the global Superbike format.

“BSB is good, I cannot fault anything. It's a national championship, you can’t forget that and expect to have all this money like a World Championship would have, we don't have that here. So, when you work with what you’ve got, it very good and that’s the main thing. It's not about what's in the paddock in World Championship racing, here it's about what's going on out on the track and that's what I love most.

“I was thinking this and that, maybe the safety of some of the tracks is a bit wary [compared to MotoGP] but I think that's why people love it.

“It is what it is - every other rider is doing it so I can't change it - they're right next door is doing it with me, so let’s go! I knew it coming here, I couldn't bitch about it.

“I think that's why I fit in because I'm not that person. It's the same for everyone, so what if you want to complain, you have to just fucking get stuck in and go for it.”

As Scott would say, ‘fuck yeah…’

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