Scott Redding began his racing career at the tender age of eight, racing in the British Minimoto Championship in 2001. Just three years later he scooped the MiniGP British Championship, an achievement followed up by winning all six rounds of the Spanish Calypso Cup 80cc series.
After switching to the Spanish 125GP series and finishing the season in seventh, Scott signed for the BQR Blusens Aprilia team in 2007 and finished second in the championship after winning the final three races of the season.
After switching to the 125cc world championship in 2008, Scott made history in front of a delighted Donington crowd as he became the youngest rider of all-time to win a Grand Prix race (aged 15 years and 170 days), taking the record from Marco Melandri. Scott was the 2008 125cc Rookie of the Year, finishing 11th overall.
Scott jumped on a factory bike for 2009 as he continued with the Blusens Aprilia, but his physique and sheer size meant results conspired against him and results were hard to come by.
In 2010 he switched classes and signed for the Marc VDS Team in Moto2, and though it took time to adapt he finished the season strongly, securing 8th place in the standings. 2011 was equally frustrating, but Scott fared better in 2012, racking up four podium finishes on his way to fifth in the standings.
And 2013 saw Scott enjoy his best season in Moto2, winning the Grand Prix of France, Italy and Great Britain and leading the championship before a horrible crash during qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix left him with a broken left wrist, effectively handing the title to rival Pol Espargarò.
Scott made the jump to the elite class in 2013, riding an Open Class Honda for the Gresini squad. His results and racecraft were impressive, and Scott regularly outscored seasoned campaigners and former world champions Nicky Hayden and Hiro Ayoma on the same equipment.
His skill caught the attention of HRC, who will be providing Scott with a Factory bike for the 2015 season. Scott’s never-quit attitude and gung-ho riding style means he’s had his fair share of big (and painful) offs during his career, so he knows what works and, just as importantly, what doesn’t. He shared his kit wisdom with us one morning at a cold and windy Silverstone.
“The priority for me is protection. You only get one head, so you need to do everything you can to protect it. My advice is to buy the best helmet you can afford.
“A lot of racer’s go with the helmet manufacturer that will pay them the most money, and often that’s not best helmet. I’ve had massive offers in front of me to wear this lid or that, but I’ve turned them down, as I’m only interested in quality.
“Protection is the most important for me, followed closely by vision. When you come off you’re going to hit the ground hard, so you need to know everything’s going to work. For example, it’s no good having a strong shell but a weak visor. If a visor comes off when you crash that’s not going to end well as you’ll either get hit in the face by flying stones or a handlebar.
“My helmet is an off-the-peg lid, the same as my replica you can buy. The only big difference is that it has been raised so it sits higher on my head to make it easier for me to see when I’m tucked in a racing crouch. It’s also a bit tighter to cope with the higher speeds we do in GP.”
“Having light leathers is one thing, but they need to be strong too. If you come off at 180mph, it’s going to be a big one, and you need to know your leathers aren’t going to hole or burst.
“I also prefer my leathers to be tight. I don’t want them flapping around, taking my attention away from the track. But I don’t want them to be so tight as to restrict my movement.
“I wear an Alpinestars Air Tech suit, complete with airbag. I noticed the extra bulk at first, but after a couple of times wearing it I couldn’t notice anything different.
“My suit is Kangaroo leather as it offers the perfect combination of flexibility and strength. It’ll stretch but it’s strong too, and it doesn’t abrade easily.
“I prefer suits with external armour on the shoulders, elbow and knees so that you keep sliding and don’t dig into the tarmac. But it’s got to fit – if the armour moves around, then it’s not going to offer any protection as it’ll move and not do it’s job.
“The exciting thing from my point of view about Alpinestars is that they’re always listening to rider’s feedback and constantly evolving and improving their products. Take the airbag technology. When I first started wearing their airbag suit in 2013, the system weighed 1.5kg. Now it weighs 0.8kg. It’s clever too. In the past there were occasions when it went deployed when it shouldn’t, because it thought the rider was having a crash, when in reality it was just a moment. But by analysing the data they’ve ironed this out and it now works faultlessly – it will only deploy when you’re beyond the point of no return.
“Another good thing about this system is that it employs two canisters, which means it can deploy twice before it needs replacing.
“Being an Alpinestars Factory supported rider means I can get my suit tweaked to my exact requirements. I like to have them a bit looser in the arms, so they take this into account, and all my sponsors logos rate printed directly onto the suit instead of being stitched on, which makes a massive difference to comfort.”
“I like my boots to have lots of feel and flex, but still be protective too. And they need to be comfortable as you put all your weight through your feet, and with most races lasting some 40 minutes, that can make a big difference.
“I wear Supertech Rs. They’re superb, have superb amounts of movement and are as comfy as wearing slippers. They have an outer boot and an inner boot and they offer loads of protection. There’s lots of chunky plastic around the ankle, the inner boot is reassuringly protective, the sole has loads of flex and if you crash lots of parts can be replaced quickly and easily as nearly everything is replaceable.
“I have had people hitting my feet and even running over them on track and I’ve got away with it without as much as a scratch – they work.”
“I need my gloves to be comfortable and offer decent levels of feel. Your hands communicate a lot with the bike and control pretty much everything – the throttle, the brakes and the bars. You need to be able to feel exactly what’s going on and what your inputs are.
“But they also need to offer decent levels of protection. It’s not good them being too light or too thin – you can’t sacrifice protection for lightness and comfort.
“I wear Alpinestars and the good thing about them is that the little finger and ring finger are joined, which makes it harder for your to break your finger. A lot of other gloves don’t have this feature and the rider’s pay the price – just look at the what Bradley Smith’s done to his finger.”
BACK AND CHEST PROTECTORS:
“I can’t imagine not wearing either. There’s no excuse not to wear either these days as they’ve come on leaps and bounds, and got smaller, stronger and more comfortable.
“I’ve never really got my head around people not wanting to do as much as possible to protect themselves and their vulnerable areas like under the arms, the chest and so on. Your ribcage can’t protect your vital organs and stomach, and you’re spine is critical too, so I’ll do everything I can to protect myself as best I can.
“Yes, it’s a bit different when you wear them at first, but you soon forget they’re there.”
“These are a godsend. They make it quick and easy to get leathers on and off, and they keep you comfortable on the bike. They regulate your core temperature by wicking away the sweat in hot conditions, and preventing heat loss in cold conditions. They make a huge difference to comfort.”
PADDED CYCLING SHORTS:
“I started getting pain in my arse cheeks in 2011 for some reason. I still have no idea why or what had changed to trigger it. Anyway, we played about with different seats on the bike but it made not a blind bit of difference. Then I started wearing padded cycling shorts and they made a huge difference. I’ve not had a cheek problem since. They’re just so comfortable that I always ride with pair.”
The 2015 season kicks off in Qatar on March 29.