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motop.com caught up with Scott Redding ahead of the final Test in Jerez to talk about developments during the winter break that have led to renewed expectations of a title challenge in 2012.
2011 was a disappointing year for young Redding, who failed to make a single podium in Moto2 despite a strong performance in winter testing. This year, the Marc VDS rider was back on top at the first two Official Moto2 Tests after a switch from the Suter to the Kalex chassis produced immediate results.
You had a successful test in Jerez, what did you focus on?
"It was good apart from one crash, but that was nothing too big. Everything else went really well; we got a few things sorted out and there’re just a couple of little things left but nothing spectacular. We mostly worked on the feeling on the bike and a bit more on the turning. I get to the point where I’m starting to lean the bike so much and I’m just getting a good feeling from that point."
How different is the Kalex from the Suter?
"The Suter was good on the front end but we´re starting to make improvements like that [on the Kalex]. The bike´s working really well on the front and we´ve got a pretty good feeling there, it´s pretty predictable which helps. We´re just trying to make it feel a little bit like the Suter on the front. I think it´s got the potential to be better than the Suter there, it´s just about finding the right direction with it."
What about the feeling overall?
"Amazing if I put it in black and white. The feeling with the bike is so great that I want to go out and ride it all the time, which is good for my confidence."
How much of the change is the bike and how much is you?
"The bike´s helping me. I´m working hard on the bike and the bike´s working with me. The bike and I together is a good combination. Then to get results is even better for me to get more confidence with the bike, it makes me want to go out and ride more and I feel so comfortable on it that I can go out and do lots of laps on it."
What else has changed? You seem a lot more confident this year.
"I´ve just been enjoying life a bit more, everything before was just training, training, training but now I´m still training and have dedication to my sport but I have things like the [Scott Redding Young Riders] Academywith the kids which is enjoyable.Things like that are helping me take life a bit more as it comes instead of just training every day, aching every day. With the new bike it´s so much easier to ride so I can relax a bit more, I have more motivation, it just makes me a happier person and everyone knows a happy rider is a fast rider."
How have you changed your training?
"I´ve calmed down a bit on the training, I´m not just going hard, hard, hard all the time. I´m doing more running, swimming, going out on 3 hour hikes, stuff like that. I´ve laid off all the core work, I still do it to keep the body in good shape but I´m not going out cycling 3 hours a day, then in the gym, then something else. It just feels better for myself that I don’t feel exhausted every day I wake up."
Is your training more focused on weight loss rather than strength?
"With the new bike I don’t need as much strength because it doesn’t seem to be as heavy on the direction changes. We can afford to just trim up a bit on the upper body and the legs to get the weight down a little bit, so that´s our aim."
Will that be enough when you start racing week in, week out?
"Yeah I always recover pretty quick. I´ve been doing race simulations this year and I´m just starting to get a little bit of a sweat on, unlike last year when I was just completely exhausted. I´ve been training harder so it goes to show when the bike works how much easier it is for me."
Do you think it´s fair to say that last year you suffered with confidence issues?
"It wasn’t really my confidence, it was just that the bike wasn’t really working for me last year. I know that I´ve got it in me to do it so when I get on a bike that I know is working I can reassure myself that it actually works because the times come. Then things just look up and it makes you want to do it and then you get even more confident than when you started and that´s when it starts to get a little bit easier."
What are your predictions for this season?
"I´m thinking that we can do top 5, top 3, that´s what we´re aiming for. We had good testing where we were quickest so we know that the times are there and we know we were not on a Supersport engine [at the tests] so we´re not cheating ourselves. It´ll be good in the last test when everyone´s got the same engines and real timing to see what actually happens, because at the moment you don´t know what anyone´s doing, some could be holding back. But I think we could be running top 5, top 3 every race this year."
Who do you see as your biggest rivals and the title favourites this year?
"Luthi seems to be pretty quick and consistent, for me at the moment it´s him. I haven’t seen Marc Marquez ride this year, so I don’t know what to say about him and Andrea Iannone seems to look like he´s struggling a bit but he always pulls it out on race day. I think Bradley Smith is trying to work out the new chassis a bit more but he´ll be there or there abouts this year. You can´t really predict much yet."
Your team-mate Mika Kallio was also really strong at the end of last year and in winter testing, how much will he challenge you this year?
"I think Mika is holding something in the bag as well. I think he´s done really well, in testing he did a race simulation and his lap times were good. It´s really hard to say because some people are just doing one lap in testing, some are doing runs and quick laps, so it´s hard to say what´s going to happen.After this next test we can see the times and see what happens and you can work out a bit what people are doing."
What do you think it takes to win this title against so many competitive riders?
"You definitely need to be consistent, to finish every race. You need to be up running top 3, top 5 every race because the competitiveness of the class is really strong. But we´re preparing for that. We´re going to be one of the guys there that´s going to be making it competitive and making it hard for other riders, but it´s not going to come easy and we´re expecting that. It´s about being consistent every race and not doing anything dumb."
Do you think you´re a title favourite this year?
"Testing was good don’t get me wrong but you can´t predict anything until you see the first race because that´s when everyone lets the leads off and goes."
You were also fast in winter testing in 2011. When the first race comes this year, what makes you better prepared for it than last year?
"Just that we haven’t been changing much on the bike to get the final result. Last year we were changing the bike here, there, all the time but this year it´s been pretty much the same. Obviously we´re changing things but the final result´s always pretty much the same."
Your good results in testing came after some strong words from [team manager] Michael Bartholemy after a disappointing 2011. Now people are starting to talk about you as a title contender again. Do you feel more pressure to do well this year?
"I wouldn’t say there´s more pressure. Everyone seems more relaxed because the results are coming a lot easier and they know it´s coming easier because I´m happier. I´m enjoying it, the team´s enjoying it and when you have a good spirit things are happening.When things aren’t working no one is happy and it´s got to be someone´s fault at the end of the day so you just have to take it as it comes and do the best with what you’ve got."
Do you think about MotoGP in the future?
"I just want to try and get top 3, or a title this year would be so good for me because I´ve had such an up and down year the past few years so it would be nice to know that I´ve got it and to get a championship or runner up. We just have to see how this year goes then see what happens in 2013."
Ducati have been talking about you, does that flatter you or do you ignore talk like that?
"I don’t think about it because it´s just so far in the future, I´ve got to do a good job here to get there, you can´t just go jumping steps because someone´s talking about you. Words and actions are two different things."
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