Scott Redding eyes shock switch to Ducati for 2016 MotoGP season
With his MotoGP career stalling, British rider Scott Redding is targeting a shock switch from Honda to Ducati for the 2016 season.
Redding, 22, is still the youngest winner in MotoGP history following his 2008 victory in the 125cc British GP at the age of 15 years and 170 days. He has long been regarded as hot property but has become increasingly disenchanted with his ability to achieve his potential and be a championship contender.
That’s why the young Brit has offered his services to Pramac Ducati for 2016 and is prepared to walk away from the Marc VDS Honda team that was specially created to foster his MotoGP career. Redding’s surprise move to approach Pramac Ducati during the Czech GP at Brno puts him a battle with countryman Danny Kent for that ride.
Disillusioned by his performances on a "difficult-to-ride" factory Honda RC213V during his rookie MotoGP season, Redding feels that he will be invigorated by the Ducati switch. After 11 races, Redding is 14th in points with a best finish of seventh (Catalunya GP).
"I know Scott very well and my feeling is that he wants to make a move but it is entirely Scott’s decision. It is whatever is best for his career," Michael Marc VDS owner and Redding’s personal manager Michael Bartholemy said.
Kent, 21, is also seen as one of the upcoming men of MotoGP. He is a runaway leader of the Moto3 championship with five wins and has interest from Pramac Ducati to make the switch to MotoGP, a move similar to that by Aussie Jack Miller with Honda. But things moved quickly over the Czech GP when Redding made himself available to Ducati.
Pramac Team Manager Francesco Guidotti and Ducati MotoGP Project Director Paolo Ciabatti both confirmed that Redding was a contender for a Pramac place. A year ago, Redding was offered a Pramac Ducati contract for 2015 before deciding to go with the new MarcVDS project.
"Scott is not having good year in his first year in MotoGP and it seems he is finding the Honda package not so easy to ride," Ciabatti said. "I don’t think Scott has lost his talent, he can’t be hot property one year and then nothing. We like him very much and we made him an offer last year to come to Pramac but it didn’t happen.
"And while it is a big step from Moto3, I think Danny is mature enough to make the move next year – the switch too Michelin tires would make it easier for him if it happens.
"Danny is young with potential while Scott is older with MotoGP experience. There are pros and cons on both sides. Both riders are interesting options."
Before Brno, Kent said he is fully ready to make the jump to MotoGP if a team has factory backing, although he also has excellent offers for Moto2 including Keifer Racing.
"With the sort of offer like Jack Miller got last year, you would have to bite their hand off and take it," Kent said. "A three year contract with the support of a factory is a dream. 100 percent I am considering the step straight to MotoGP but I also have some very good Moto2 offers."
Ciabatti confirmed that for 2016, Pramac would start the season with the final evolution of this year’s GP15 with "upgrades subject to rider performance."
Weighing heavily in Redding’s favor is his previous test sessions with Ducati, plus his Honda experience would be a valuable reference point for Ducati technical director Gigi Dall’Igna. Further talks will be held this week with an announcement by Pramac Ducati expected in advance of next week’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone.