Scott Redding refused to be too downbeat after he saw a third Moto2 victory of the season slip from his grasp on the final lap of a pulsating scrap with main world title rival Pol Espargaro in Assen yesterday (Saturday).
Redding surrendered the lead at the first corner on the final lap and Spaniard Espargaro then delivered a faultless last lap of the legendary Dutch venue to survive intense late pressure from the British rider.
Marc VDS Racing rider Redding had led for 10 of the 24-laps, but despite just missing out on a win to add to his stunning victories in Le Mans and Mugello, he was satisfied to push Espargaro right to the chequered flag and take a second that keeps him 30-points clear in the title chase.
Redding lost by just 0.017s but he said he was more happy than frustrated to see Espargaro claim a second straight win and third of the campaign.
The Gloucestershire rider said: “I’m far from frustrated. My front wheel was beside his rear wheel at the finish, so it was a good second. I knew his confidence was building and I knew I had to do something about it and it was good I led.
"I was losing so much on the straight when I am on my own so we need to sort this out. I could pull some time in T1 but in T2 he was better on the straight. When I’m behind I can follow not so bad but on my own I can’t really break him. We need to work hard in the summer to fix this aerodynamic problem.”
Redding told MCN he had decided to throw more caution to the wind in Assen after riding recently to protect a huge points advantage he built up earlier in the season.
A more cavalier than cautious approach was adopted and he said: “I start to think too much about the championship and think if I stay second or third it is fine.
"But you can only do this for so many races, so I woke up and said ‘f**k the championship, I’m going for the victory.’ I worked really hard but you can’t win every race. I just need to try for another victory in Germany or to beat Pol to make a gap. To be battling with him though is mega.”
Redding admitted he had been tempted to make a last ditch lunge on Espargaro at the final chicane on the last lap, which is Assen’s most popular passing point.
The final sector though was where 2012 Moto2 runner-up Espargaro was at his strongest and Redding, who will decide on his MotoGP future for 2014 after the forthcoming German round, added: “It was tempting but he was really fast through the last chicane. He was really confident going into the first part and I had a lot of front chatter going into there.
"I didn’t expect him to pass me so early on the last lap and I was going to pass him in the tight left but the rear was skipping. Back shifting to first you can get an unexpected snatch and that was it. He was fast in the last sector so I didn’t really have anything left.
"I was there and to have a battle like this, even finishing second, is close to the victory and sometimes it is like this. I fought really hard and to make second and to fight with Pol is good for my confidence.”
For more on Redding and exclusive coverage of Valentino Rossi’s return to winning ways, see the July 3 issue of Motor Cycle News.