WorldSBK

‘Humiliated’ Scott Redding almost quit racing after MotoGP burnout

Scott Redding reveals the humiliation of finishing down the order in MotoGP on uncompetitive machines almost led him to quit sport aged just 25

Scott Redding has revealed he came very close to quitting motorcycle racing aged just 25-years old after recognising his MotoGP career was coming to an end, admitting he was ‘hating it’ by that stage.

The Briton, the Moto2 runner-up in 2013, made his MotoGP debut the following season on the CRT-spec Gresini Honda, but stints at Marc VDS Honda, Pramac Ducati and Aprilia Racing brought only modest success over the ensuing years with a pair of podiums his best finishes.

It was this failure to live up to his own high expectations that led Redding to seriously consider quitting the sport having been worn down by the lack of success he felt he was capable of.

However, Redding bounced back with a surprise move into the British Superbike Championship in 2019, which he won on his first attempt with the Be Wiser PBM Ducati team. His performance caught the eye of Ducati, who signed him to replace Alvaro Bautista for the 2020 WorldSBK season on its factory Aruba.it machine.

Speaking to the official WorldSBK website, though Redding has previously been honest about his difficulties in MotoGP – which he puts down to being in the wrong teams at the wrong time – he goes as far to say he felt ‘humiliated’ and ‘burnt out’ to be finishing down the order every race.

“[In 2018] my career was more or less finished. I was over it - I didn’t want to race anymore," he said.

“I was 25 and thinking ‘I’m done with this sport’. It wasn’t giving me anything in my life; I didn’t feel happy and I didn’t feel like I was succeeding. I’ll try to do something else, that was my vision.

“Burnout is a good way of putting it, because there was no light at the end of the tunnel. There was no future to go forward. I was just struggling, suffering, really hating it. And it just kind of wore me down. I’d come from fighting for a world title in Moto2, which I lost due to injury.

“That hurt me enough, but I had a new challenge to go to MotoGP and trying to be World Champion was my goal, it’s what I believed I could do. But I just felt at the wrong place, at the wrong time from there on in. Everywhere I went to, it was not the right time.

“It just wore me down, knowing that there’s something that can be better, but I can’t get it.

There’s so much pressure in MotoGP™, millions of people around the world watching you. For me, finishing 15th, 16th, 17th is humiliating. Some riders will say they’re quite happy with that, they’re in MotoGP… That’s not me.”

After rediscovering his motivation, Redding charged his manager with finding him a competitive ride for 2019 regardless of the series or discipline, leading to his career reviving BSB success.

“After that, I was over it. But then I thought: ‘actually, let’s give this a go’. I’ll try and get a good bike, in a good team. Because I know that I’m a good rider, and I know there’s more potential than what I’ve been showing.

When I decided I was going to continue to race, I said to my manager: ‘Find me a bike and a team that can win’. I don’t give a f*** if its quads, skis, jet skis, tractor racing… Just give me something so I can prove to people!

“I ended up doing the British Superbike Championship and that kind of kickstarted me again, emotionally. I got that fire for winning again.”

Scott Redding’s Superbike redemption

There haven’t been many riders arriving in WorldSBK with as much anticipation and expectation as Scott Redding… though the man himself arguably expects the most.

The British rider never found his groove in MotoGP with the bite of his results never quite matching the bark of his charisma. It was enough for him to consider hanging up his helmet, but while BSB on a dominant Ducati perhaps overplays his racing redemption, at the very least it has given him the shot of motivation he needed to rediscover his best form.

As such, Redding is one of the most eagerly awaited WorldSBK newcomers on the strength of his self-belief and attitude, which make him a huge fan favourite. For many, he is the character that the series has arguably lacked in recent years.

Whether he can turn that into the results he needs to justify his confidence remains to be seen, but on a machine that won 17 races in 2019, he at least won’t be hampered by pedalling uncompetitive privateer machines as he did in MotoGP.

In short, while Redding is making a lot of noise, he also has nowhere to hide. However, if he is carrying a weight of expectation, he is more than capable of shouldering it…

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