Scott Redding took a fantastic maiden victory in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship today when the Be Wiser Ducati rider won the opening race of the triple-header weekend at Donington Park.
The former MotoGP rider became the 50th rider to win a British Superbike race and he did so in fine style, crossing the line on the factory supported Be Wiser Ducati Panigale V4 R 0.824s clear of Tarran Mackenzie. However, there was disappointment for team-mate Josh Brookes as he crashed out on the sixth lap when challenging for the lead.
With the 1.97-mile National circuit being used for the first time since 2002, it made it a level playing field for the 28-strong grid but both Brookes and Redding were in the ascendancy from the beginning and having both run inside the top three during Free Practice, they took that form with them into this lunchtime’s Datatag Extreme Qualifying session.
Despite times being extremely close, the duo comfortably made it through to the third and final section of qualifying, but it was Brookes who came out on top with a time of 1m 05.868s seeing him claim his second pole position on the trot. But it was close with team-mate Redding only 0.072s adrift to join him on the front row for the opening race.
Australian Brookes capitalised on his starting position to lead at the end of the opening lap and did so until lap five when he slipped back to second and a lap later this became third although his race ended soon after when he high-sided on the exit of the Roberts Chicane, fortunately without injury.
Redding, meanwhile, slipped back to fifth on the opening lap and at one stage fell two seconds adrift of the leaders but on the ninth lap he began to start moving forward with third place becoming his on lap twelve. At half race distance, he was some 1.8s adrift of the pace-setting Mackenzie and Tommy Bridewell but he was lapping considerably quicker than the two riders ahead of him and by lap 18, just two tenths of a second covered the trio.
With four laps to go, the 26 year old swept into the lead at Redgate Corner and he was never headed, eventually taking the chequered flag almost a second clear of Mackenzie and eventual third place rider Xavi Fores. It was Redding’s first victory on British soil since taking the Moto2 British Grand Prix victory at Silverstone in 2013.
Scott Redding: “It feels great to be back on the top step and before the weekend I said this was the place where I needed to get a win so whilst that put a bit of pressure on myself, I was able to put together a good race to get the job done. It’s great for everyone in the team and after giving me the opportunity at the beginning of the year, I’m so pleased to give them a win so soon. It’s been good to have come to a circuit where we’ve all started on the same footing and I’ve enjoyed every second of it. I made a mess of the start in the race and then made a couple of mistakes but once I settled into my rhythm, I was able to reel the leaders in and to win in that manner feels phenomenal. It’s been a while since I’ve won a race and I put my heart and soul into every lap so let’s hope there’s more to come.”
Josh Brookes: “Up until the race today, everything had been going well but something didn’t feel quite right from the first lap and I wasn’t able to lap near the times I’d been doing. The bike was spinning up a lot and the end result was me being thrown off. I came down hard so obviously feel a bit banged up but am otherwise ok. Prior to that, the bike had been working well and I went as hard as I had to in qualifying and was obviously delighted to get pole ahead of the first race. It wasn’t our day today, but we have two more races tomorrow to make amends.”
John Mowatt, Team Co-ordinator: “We couldn’t have asked for any more from the riders in practice and qualifying and it was brilliant for the team to have a 1-2 in qualifying which set us up nicely for the race. It was obviously a race of different emotions but the whole team is made up to see Scott take his maiden BSB victory and he didn’t have it all his own way, so he certainly earned it. Once he settled into the race, he pulled back a considerable gap to the leaders which is no mean thing in BSB and it’s full credit to him that he was able to win in such a manner. Conversely, the race went the opposite way for Josh and right from the first lap, he said he had a strange feeling from the rear whereby he wasn’t getting the grip he had in qualifying. It’s obviously disappointing for him to have crashed out and lost valuable podium credits but the good thing is that he’s ok and with two more races tomorrow, he has two more bites of the cherry.”
Bennetts British Superbike Championship race one (26 laps)
- Scott Redding (Be Wiser Ducati)
- Tarran Mackenzie (Yamaha)
- Xavi Fores (Honda)
- Tommy Bridewell (Ducati)
- Jason O’Halloran (Yamaha)
- Hector Barbera (Kawasaki)
DNF Josh Brookes (Be Wiser Ducati)
- Tarran Mackenzie 84pts
- Tommy Bridewell 77
- Scott Redding 65
- Danny Buchan 58
- Josh Elliott 52
- Josh Brookes 50
- Josh Brookes (Be Wiser Ducati) 1m05.868
- Scott Redding (Be Wiser Ducati) 1m05.940
- Jason O'Halloran (Yamaha) 1m.05.981
- Tarran Mackenzie (Yamaha) 1m05.991
- Tommy Bridewell (Ducati) 1m06.201
- Luke Mossey (Suzuki) 1m06.236