MotoGP: Redding searching for grip at Aprilia

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Scott Redding’s nightmare debut on the Aprilia machine has continued into the first race weekend of the 2018 season, after never finding a comfortable setting on the RS-GP bike and eventually coming home way outside the points in 20th place.

Blaming a lack of rear grip for his issues on a bike that many say has the best traction of any on the grid, it could be a difficult year for the Brit if he can’t find a solution to a problem that plagued him all season long last year and seems to have followed him from Ducati to Aprilia machinery.

“There was just no grip in the rear again, and I couldn’t stop the bike, I couldn’t turn it, I couldn’t exit the corners. Then suddenly with five laps to go, it just started coming – but it was a bit fucking late then. We don’t know why it happens, because the only thing we’ve been able to point to is that it isn’t an issue on my second bike and only appear on my first bike. But we need to understand why it’s happening.

“I haven’t looked at whether it’s something to do with my riding style, because Aleix is making the same comments and has no rear grip either. We need to understand what the reason is and to find more mechanical grip, because simply reducing power isn’t the solution. At the test it was fine, and then there was just zero grip at the weekend.”

However, Aleix Espargaró was quick to counter his teammates’ claims after the race, angry at Aprilia not for rear grip but for a fuelling issue that cost him a top ten place on the final lap when his bike ran out of petrol and left him to cruise home in 19th.

“I’m happy with what I did because I started the race well, even though we started on a really lean fuelling map and were a long way down on power. Then on lap three the low fuel alarm arrived and I was super angry. I had to switch to another map and the bike was just super slow. I was making progress and I thought I could finish ninth – and then the bike stopped.

“I struggled with rear grip just for the first two or three laps of the race and in qualifying, because it looks like the others have more pure mechanical grip this year and can use their power better. But when the real race started, my grip was unbelievable and I was gaining time on my rivals.”

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer