“I wanted to be the first to shake his hand” - Redding praises ‘better guy’ Rea 

Scott Redding takes title defeat on the chin - via a heavy crash in qualifying - as ensures he is the first to congratulate Jonathan Rea on his sixth crown

Jonathan Rea, Scott Redding

Scott Redding has praised rival Jonathan Rea as the ‘better guy’ over the course of the 2020 WorldSBK Championship season after his faint title aspirations were doused by a technical issue in the first of three races at the Estoril finale.

Redding came into the finale needing to win all three races - and hope Rea didn’t somehow accumulate more than three points all weekend - in a seemingly insurmountable prospect for the WorldSBK rookie.

Undeterred, Redding dominated all three practice sessions and looked well poised to keep his end of the bargain. However, after a big crash in qualifying left him last on the grid, even though Rea’s own qualifying fumble also left him down the order, the odds were now stacked well against Redding.

“Before the weekend I said I’d give it everything or nothing, I was fastest in every session until qualifying and then I had a strange crash, it was a bit unclear what happened. 

“I was with the SCX tyre and I don’t know if it was not in the working range, but I had a big crash and took a bit of an impact on my legs and unfortunately we missed it by one minute to get out for qualifying, otherwise we’d have gotten one lap which could have put me top ten.

In the end though the starting position was fairly elementary after Redding retired on lap seven with technical issues on his Ducati, ensuring Rea the title regardless of his result.

“We started at the back of the grid, then in the race we had a small mechanical problem with the engine, which I think came from the crash as it hit the floor hard. I pushed in the race to come forward but it stopped and that was the championship fight over.

Sportingly, Redding made it back to the paddock but rather than retreat to his pit bow, instead waited at parc ferme to ensure he would be the first to shake Rea’s hand as he toasted his sixth consecutive crown.

“I have always said this year about respect between riders so I wanted to be the first one to shake his hand, because he was the better guy over the season. That;s what it came down to. 2020 is done, 2021 is going to start and we’re in a position where we can be stronger.

“ This was my ‘warm-up’ year trying to figure out everything. I wanted to take the title, I did the best fight I could but I was a little unlucky mid-season.

“We should start on a stronger foot, nothing really to learn and be able to take that title from him.”

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