Scott Redding firmly ‘focused’ on defeating Jonathan Rea straight away

Scott Redding says he is only has eyes for Jonathan Rea as he looks to prove he can beat the Kawasaki rider from his first WorldSBK race

Scott Redding - Ducati

Scott Redding says he is setting his sights firmly on Jonathan Rea from the very first round of the 2020 WorldSBK Championship as he looks to wrest his countryman’s grip on the series in his rookie year.

Redding steps up to the WorldSBK Championship with the factory Ducati team on the back of his run to title glory in the British Superbike Championship last season. Rea, meanwhile, will look to break more records with Kawasaki by claiming a sixth consecutive title.

Indeed, while this year’s championship is priming itself to become one of most competitive in some years, for rookie Redding it is only Rea he ultimately has eyes for as he looks to emulate his Ducati predecessor Alvaro Bautista by winning on his debut in Australia.

“Jonny is by far one of the favourites with all of the experience he has had in the past years. He’s won a lot of titles, he’s a very good rider, a very strong rider and very talented. That is why my focus is there.

“I really like Jonny as a guy, we get along well but on the race-track, it is each to their own. We go racing to try and beat each other and I think it is the same for him. I think we will have a lot of battles on track this year but the target for me and, probably, the other half of the grid is to try and beat him.

“When you are Champion, everyone wants to try and take the crown away from you. We are working to do that and to be as strong as possible for the first race of the year. I think the battle will commence at round one at Phillip Island!”

How do we rate Scott Redding’s chances of beating Rea…?

All things considered Redding has a very good chance to come out of the box swinging against Rea and co. in Phillip Island.

While it is hard to read too much into testing, Redding has been setting times comfortably in the range of Toprak Razgatlioglu, Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark, the three riders perhaps most capable of taking a sustained fight to Rea in the championship.

However, Phillip Island is a circuit Redding knows particularly well from his time in MotoGP and one that definitely suits the Ducati Panigale V4 R with its superior top speed advantage over the Kawasaki ZX-10RR.

Moreover – unusually – Rea hasn’t won in Australia since 2017, while he was very unsettled by the strength of the Ducati last season. The sheer swagger and confidence of Redding on a fast Ducati could well be the ingredients of success he needs to make a big early impression.