Redding: WSBK title pressure on Rea and Razgatlioglu, not me
Ducati rider Scott Redding feels the pressure of the 2021 World Superbike title fight is on his rivals Jonathan Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu, despite a double win at Navarra boosting his own hopes of lifting the crown.
Redding won the opening two races on WSBK’s maiden visit to Circuito de Navarra in Spain, continuing the momentum he had gained at Assen in July after hitting the lowest point of his season in the previous round at Donington Park.
With eight podiums in the last nine races, including three wins, Redding now sits just 38 points behind joint championship leaders Rea and Razgatlioglu with six rounds still to run this season.
The British rider says he is “quite relaxed” about his title prospects heading into the next round at Magny-Cours, but feels the pressure must be be high on Kawasaki ace Rea and Yamaha's rising star Razgatlioglu as they engage in one of the closest championship battles in WSBK’s recent history.
Asked to comment about his improved position in the championship battle following the events of Navarra, Redding said: “Everyone kind of wrote me off basically and now it really doesn't bother me, I really don't care.
“In the end if I win, great. If I don't, I gave it my everything so it will be what it will be, and I will try my best every time I go out to try and maximise the situation.
“But I want to do it with a bit more ease, I need to stop forcing the situation and the pressure is on them, it's not on me.
“These two are worrying about each other more than what they are worrying about me at the moment, so I can only cause them trouble because I have a gap and I have to close the gap.
“If one of them makes a mistake it puts them closer to me and then it's harder for them at the moment.
“For me I'm kind of like a race gap away basically so I need time to come back. But if I make a mistake I was anyway not that close if that makes sense. So I'm quite relaxed for the moment and we'll see.
“Just keep the pressure on, keep trying to be consistent and consistently is key but it's just finding the consistency.”
Redding suffered a torrid home weekend at Donington Park in early July, crashing out of the first full-distance race on Saturday and finishing 18th in the superpole race after an ill-informed choice to run full wet tyres on a drying track.
That dropped him 66 points off the championship lead, but the Ducati rider has since mounted a strong recovery, cutting the gap by almost half over the following three rounds.
The 28-year-old feels the upturn in his form was down to a change in his approach rather than any major changes on the Panigale V4 R.
“The mad thing is the bike is exactly the same as Donington. I think I was overriding the bike a little bit too much.
“After the beginning of the season I had quite a bit of pressure, a little bit of stress and after Donington I was like, 'you know what, just relax, just chill out mate, you know you can ride the bike to the potential to win, why are you stressing about it? What are you overthinking? Just go put your feet up and go to sleep, and wake up and you'll do well'.
“And that's been my strategy really. The bike has been set exactly the same as Donington and basically it's been the same apart from a click here or click there from Assen, and then Most the same and here [Navarra] the same.
“The good thing is we've had two different temperatures and I have been competitive in both situations and so, if we can continue this it will be good for the championship until the end of the season.”
Ahead of the Navarra races, Redding announced that he would leave Ducati after this season to partner Michael van der Mark at the factory BMW team in 2022.
Asked if firming up his future in WSBK had a positive impact on his results on track, Redding added: “Not really, that didn't change anything for me.
“[The lack of results] was just me trying to achieve too much for myself. Sometimes I want something so bad that I'm my own enemy. So I need to have a little talk to myself and just chill and I'll be good. So I've chilled and I've been good, so I just need to keep that.
"The problem is when I go to places that are a little bit more difficult for me, I need to remember that, 'Don't start going down that 'trying too hard [road]', and that's all I can do.”
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