Scott Redding rode through the pain barrier in a pulsating Moto2 race at the Motorland Aragon track yesterday to claim a stunning podium finish on the last lap.
Redding rode for more than half of the 21-lap race with an open wound on his right hand to snatch third from Andrea Iannone on the last lap.
Immediately after the recent Misano race, the 19-year-old underwent surgery on his right hand to cure a lingering arm pump issue that has been progressively getting worse throughout 2012.
With a four-week recovery period, Redding knew he was going to be riding in pain at the Motorland Aragon. But that pain was only intensified during the race when the strain of fighting to keep himself in podium contention saw his scar open and start pouring blood into his right glove.
Redding told MCN: “It was really tough mentally because at one stage I got bumped back to 10th but I didn’t give up and kept going and made some good moves.
"I had the speed but the downhill Corkscrew was the worst place because you have to keep the balance right and at the last moment I kept wanting to let go of the handlebar.
"I knew it was going to hurt but when you are in this sport, pain is part of it. I just kept going because that’s what the team has taught me to do, fight the pain and never give up.
"On the last lap I thought I’ve come all this way now so I went for one move and even if I didn’t make it I thought fourth was a really good result.”
Redding might have been finding it difficult to negotiate Turns 8 and 9 with his weakening hand but it was at that section where he brilliantly dived under Iannone to secure his fourth podium finish of the season.
He said: “Ironically it was my weakest corner for my hand because it just wanted to give up on me at that point. Then I saw it was the last lap on somebody’s board so I thought I’ve just got to go for it.
"I caught him and he didn’t give me much space but I think it shook him up when I went through but I wanted that podium really badly.”
Redding had repeatedly been passed with ease on the long back straight, with championship leader Marc Marquez capitalising on his light weight to motor by the Gloucestershire rider several times.
Had he feared a similar attack from Iannone heading to the final corner?
“With Iannone I was expecting a move but I just focussed on Marc in front of me and I braked really late at the last corner. I knew if he wasn’t alongside me I had it," said Redding, who hadn't finished on the podium since the Assen round in late June.
Redding said the fact that the race was so frenetic with countless overtaking moves helped distract his mind from the constant pain in his right hand.
He added: “I looked at somebody’s pit board and it said three laps to go and I thought that’s not bad and the first 10 laps must have gone so quick because everybody was fighting, so it did take my mind off it quite a lot.”
The operation to cure the arm pump problem was a success, with Redding not feeling a repeat of the numbness that has struck in the opening laps of previous races.
He said: “It made it easier because before I had the operation I couldn’t feel my fingers so I wasn’t sure how the race would go. I just had to stay focussed because I couldn’t afford to make mistakes.
"At the start of the weekend I was struggling to judge how much pressure I was using on the front brake. In the warm-up I tried with no painkillers and it was a bit of a disaster and it was really tough for the change of direction because I had to use one hand and I didn’t have so much support there.
"When I came in I took my glove off and it was wet with blood. It wasn’t bleeding like hell but it was bleeding pretty bad, but I’m happy to finish on the podium.”
For more thoughts from Redding on his heroic podium, see the October 3 issue of Motor Cycle News.