MotoGP – Redding turns back on Factory Honda. Inspired or madness?

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As has been widely rumoured, Scott Redding has announced he will be leaving the Marc VDS outfit and switching to the  Octo Pramac Ducati squad for MotoGP 2016.

Redding enjoyed a strong season in 2014 on board the customer Gresini Honda and switched to a factory RC213V with Marc VDS this season, but the 22-year-old Briton has struggled to gel with the bike, suffering with a lack of rear grip and unable to tame the bike’s aggressive power delivery.

This weekend Redding enjoyed his best finish of the season, crossing the line in sixth place, and Redding admitted the announcement had relieved some of the pressure he had been feeling.

A statement by Ducati’s sporting director Paolo Ciabatti said: “We are happy to welcome Scott in the Ducati family. “He’s going to be racing for Ducati Pramac Team next year with the latest GP15 bikes. So we’re glad and we hope to put in the conditions to show his real potential. We’ve been following Scott from his Moto2 career and in his debut season with Gresini in MotoGP. We approached him last year, but then his team decided to move to MotoGP and it was not possible. We discussed with him again around the Brno weekend and we decided that this time was the right time.”

Redding has previous with Ducati after completing a successful private Ducati test in 2012, alongside Moto2 rival Andrea Iannone, who now rides for the Factory team. The Englishman posted quicker times than the Italian and is confident he can replicate that pace and get his career back on track, believing the Ducati is better suited to his riding style.

He will riding GP15 machinery, the same bikes currently used by Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso, but like the rest of the field be will be running Michelin tyres and a standard ECU.

However, many in the paddock are questioning the logic behind the move. Yes, the Honda RC213V is proving to be difficult to tame this year, with even the mercurial Marc Marquez unable to handle its power delivery, but that is down to Honda placing too much importance on Marquez’s feedback when they were developing the bike. They have riders of the calibre of Pedrosa, Crutchlow, Laverty and Miller to fall back on, and the bike will be a far better prospect in 2016.

Honda also has one of the biggest budgets in MotoGP and the full might of HRC will be unleashed in wrestling its MotoGP crown back from Yamaha – which is where the title is heading this year. This, when combined with he fact that the series switches to Michelin rubber next year,  means the momentum should swing back in the big H’s favour. When Honda got their arses handed to them by KTM in Moto3, Honda went back to basics and assembled a bike to crush the opposition…and Danny Kent is proof that that strategy is working. What Honda wants, Honda gets.

And look at the Ducati; after a bright and blistering opening to the season the Factory bikes have gone backwards, with Andrea Dovizioso particularly suffering. Yes, the GP15 is a massive leap forward, but a lot of the Ducati’s performance is down to the tyre concessions. And with the field running on standard rubber next year, it will be interesting to see how the Italian bikes fare.

Not many turn their backs on a Honda Factory bike and go on to bigger and better things. Time will tell whether Redding’s made the right decision during this pivotal period in his career…

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