Scott Redding kicked into damage limitation mode in Catalunya yesterday after he missed a Moto2 podium for only the second time in the opening six races.
Battling in the leading group of four in the early phase of the 23-lap race, the Marc VDS Racing rider was unable to match the pace of eventual winner Pol Espargaro, Esteve Rabat and Thomas Luthi.
So rather than launch an all-out attack in baking hot conditions and risk a costly crash, the 20-year-old rode to a safe and sensible fourth to keep his world title lead at a healthy 35-points over Spaniard Espargaro.
Catalunya has never been a happy hunting ground for the Gloucestershire and incredibly in three previous Moto2 races at the Barcelona track his best result was 10th in 2012.
So to depart with 13 vital points secured he was delighted and he told MCN: “This is not one of my favourite tracks and it has never been good for me. I’ve always been s**t here, so to get fourth has given me a lot of confidence.”
Redding was counting himself lucky to make it to the third corner of the race after he was bashed by aggressive Frenchman Johann Zarco exiting the second turn and he added: “I had a good jump off the start but because it is a long run to the first corner a few guys passed me.
"It made it hard work and I went into Turn 2 and Zarco slammed into the side of me and I was lucky to stay on.
"He just gassed into the side of me. I thought he’d crashed because it felt like he was under my bike. I’m covered in tyre marks and I only just managed to hold on.”
After back-to-back victories in Le Mans and Mugello, a hat-trick never looked on the cards once he started struggling with rear tyre grip as the leading trio stretched away.
He said: “Those front guys just had a couple of tenths more in a couple of places and I was pushing hard and felt at the limit, so I felt it was better to finish in fourth.
"My rear tyre started spinning after about five laps and I started to lose them a bit. I was trying to save it as much as I could but with all the long corners here you have to open the throttle and there’s nothing you can do.
"I was trying not to make mistakes and I am not disappointed at all. They were faster than me but I am still happy to finish fourth.”
For more on Redding’s MotoGP future, see the June 19 issue of MCN.