Redding: Aprilia was like an "empty void" in 2018
Scott Redding says the Aprilia MotoGP team was like an “empty void” in 2018, two years on from his disastrous final premier-class campaign with the Italian manufacturer.
Redding replaced fellow countryman Sam Lowes at Aprilia in 2018, having previously raced both Honda and Ducati machinery in his first four years in the premier class.
However, the former Moto2 runner-up struggled with the RS-GP from the outset, and after just six races the team announced that he would be replaced by Andrea Iannone in 2019.
Redding has since re-built his reputation by winning the British Superbike Championship at his first attempt last year and securing a factory contract with Ducati for the World Superbike Championship for 2020, but the 27-year-old admitted that his Aprilia experience was “psychologically demoralising.”
“To be honest, I thought the intention from them was there [from Aprilia],” Redding said in a BT Sport podcast. “I believe I’m a better rider than Aleix Espargaro. I do like the guy but I believe I’m a better rider than him. But he was beating me all the time and I just couldn’t get my head around it.
“And they said ‘we are gonna do this, we are gonna do that, it’s a factory bike and we are gonna do this’. And it was just a f***ing empty, an empty void.
“And that’s what kind of hurt me, this is what [I] struggled [with] because you know I grow for winning, I was working hard, I was the lightest I’d ever been in racing. But there was nothing coming.
“When we got to Sepang for the race, the bike that rolled out of the garage for this race, was exactly the same as the bike they rolled out for Day 1 of the test, exactly the same.
“No engine braking, didn’t turn, spun its head off and then they expect me to race with that, and it’s just psychologically demoralising. Like, what is the point of me f***ing riding?”
Redding said he was convinced that there was something inherently wrong with the 2018 iteration of the RS-GP and had requested Aprilia to conduct a side-by-side test with a previous version of the bike.
However, the British rider said he was rebuked by the team, although a subsequent test on the old machine for teammate Espargaro vindicated his opinion that the '18 bike was a step backwards in terms of performance.
“We got to the Sepang [test] and they gave us the new bike and I was nowhere,” Redding said. “After two laps I came in and I said ‘this thing is shit’. This ain’t where we need to go, the front end of the bike had a tyre that was two times softer.
"It was just like rolling, rolling and rolling. [I’m like] ‘what the f***’s going on, I’m not even pushing’. But they just didn’t believe in me. I said you see the old bike is better. ‘No, stick with this.’
“And the mildest thing I said to them was, ‘Bring the old bike at a private test and we’ll test it. Bring the old bike and let’s just see what’s better, what’s worse. I hope for you guys everything is worse with the old bike’. And they laughed at me, they laughed.
“They are like, ‘Don’t be so silly, the new bike is better and blah blah’. I said, ‘Yeah but just try, just test. We don’t know but we are in a bad situation, just try’. And they laughed at me.
“Then they brought the [old] bike to Aragon and I went home after the test and Aleix stayed, which I didn’t know about - I only saw it from his Instagram page that he stayed.
“So I was like, ‘Okay, what the f***?’ And I messaged him and he was like we are testing the old bike. And I was like ‘oh, funny that’. And I said, 'How did you get on?' And he said, ‘I went four tenths faster in the first exit with the bike.’”
Redding sits second in the WSBK standings behind Kawasaki rider Alex Lowes after a trio of podium finishes in the opening round at Phillip Island, which took place before the season was disrupted by the global coronavirus pandemic.
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