Be Wiser Ducati rider Scott Redding moved into the lead of the Bennetts British SuperbikeChampionship following round five of the series held at Knockhill with a victory and a runner-up place at the Scottish track.
Making his debut at the Fife circuit, the 26 year old from Gloucestershire showed good pace during the free practice sessions before torrential rain delayed yesterday’s Datatag Extreme Qualifying session. Eventually it got underway and saw the former MotoGP rider end up on row five alongside Aussie team-mate Josh Brookes aboard their respective Be Wiser Ducati Panigale V4 Rs.
With heavy rain again falling this morning, the opening 30-lap race got underway with a damp but rapidly drying track from where both Redding and former BSB champ Brookes made good progress in the early stages. Whilst 36-year-old Brookes couldn’t climb any higher than eighth at the chequered flag, four times GP winner Redding was soon challenging towards the front and eventually crossed the line behind debutante race winner Danny Buchan to take second place.
With better grid positions for the day’s second race whereby Redding started on pole position with Brookes on row two, the rain had given way to strong winds but despite the conditions, Redding was soon involved in a battle with Buchan for the lead when his rival crashed out leaving Scott clear to take his fourth win of the season and with it, a four point championship lead.
With seven Knockhill podiums to his credit, Brookes was unable to challenge for his debut victory and had to settle for fourth place in the second race at the chequered flag to add important points to his Showdown aspirations and currently occupies third in the standings courtesy of his four wins so far this season, just 31 points behind team-mate Redding.
Redding’s victory was the eighth in the last nine races for Paul Bird’s Penrith-based team going into the halfway point of the season next month whereby Snetterton in Norfolk hosts round six of the series over the weekend of July 19/21st.
Scott Redding: “I knew I had the pace in the dry and went quicker in morning warm-up than I had done all weekend and for the first race, slick tyres were the only real option. It was difficult to overtake as the dry line was only about a metre wide and it was very slippery if you went off it, so I just tried to pick them off one by one and not make any mistakes. It was a great race and a great result having started so far back. Danny was quick in both the wet and dry so I didn’t necessarily want to lead the second race as I felt I could have learnt a lot sitting behind him. When he came by me, I sat behind him, but we changed places a few times and when he went down, I picked up my pace again. People were wondering if I could master the British circuits but although we still have a long way to go, it’s been case of so far, so good.”
Josh Brookes: “To be honest, I’m glad to be leaving Knockhill as it hasn’t been a great weekendand I’m disappointed for the whole team as everyone’s been working hard and putting in as much effort as always. It just hasn’t clicked for me this weekend and although it started well on Friday, it came to a halt after that and we never really progressed with our pace stuck at that level. The weather made it tough although it was the same for everyone, but we made some small improvements for the second race and salvaged a half decent result with fourth. I wish we were going to Snetterton straightaway to clear my head but it’s been a good circuit to me in the past and I’m confident the Be Wiser Ducati will work well there so I’ll be looking to bounce back strongly and get back to the front.”
Johnny Mowatt, Team Co-ordinator: “Scott's again showed today just how talented he is and to come away from Knockhill, another circuit he's never seen before, with a first and second is remarkable. He opted for the slick tyres in race one and showed how good his pace was by coming through the field to second and it was another superb ride. He rode equally well in the second race and he was in the mix for the win when Danny unfortunately crashed out, so took full advantage to take his fourth win of the season and more podium credits. For Josh, it was a much tougher weekend and in the first race, when there was only a narrow dry line, he found it a bit harder than Scott to make the passes he wanted and was disappointed with eighth. He always goes racing to win, like we all do at Be Wiser Ducati, but that means expectations are high although he salvaged his weekend with a fourth place. He made some changes between the races which helped him in some areas, but he'll regroup and come back stronger. The next round is at Snetterton, a circuit he goes well at as does the Be Wiser Ducati, so we'll take stock over the next couple of weeks and look to get both riders on the podium there.”
Bennetts British Superbike Championship race one (30 laps)
1 Danny Buchan (Kawasaki)
2 Scott Redding (Be Wiser Ducati)
3 Xavi Fores (Honda)
4 Christian Iddon (BMW)
5 Tommy Bridewell (Ducati)
6 Bradley Ray (Suzuki)
8 Josh Brookes (Be Wiser Ducati)
Bennetts British Superbike Championship race two (24 laps)
1 Scott Redding (Be Wiser Ducati)
2 Tarran Mackenzie (Yamaha)
3 Tommy Bridewell (Ducati)
4 Josh Brookes (Be Wiser Ducati)
5 Andrew Irwin (Honda)
6 Peter Hickman (BMW)
Championship Standings (after five rounds)
1 Redding 176pts
2 Bridewell 172
3 Brookes 145
4 Mackenzie 128
5 Buchan 119
6 Fores 96
Images courtesy of Double Red Photographic: Josh Brookes (25) and Scott Redding (45)