Redding relieved to score podium on WSBK debut

Jamie Klein

In his first race outing replacing Alvaro Bautista at the factory Ducati team, reigning British Superbike champion Redding fell just 0.041 seconds shy of victory, finishing third in the second-closest top-three finish in WSBK history behind Toprak Razgatlioglu and Alex Lowes.

The Englishman led several laps in the middle portion of the race after passing poleman Tom Sykes on lap 12 of 22, but lost the advantage when he ran wide, dropping to fourth.

He salvaged a podium by passing Michael van der Mark's Yamaha heading into the last turn and only just missed out on passing Lowes' Kawasaki and Razgatioglu's Yamaha.

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"I was very happy indeed to be on the podium," said Redding. "To get on the podium and get that close to the win is a great start to the season, and that’s what we need.

"We learned a lot in that race so we can prepare a bit more for this season. It wasn’t a lucky podium, we were really competitive wasn’t a lucky podium, we were really competitive. We led the race for some laps, I feel really confident.

"I’m happy to get the first race under my belt and done; we got some points. I can relax a little bit now. I was a little bit tense because I didn’t know how aggressive these guys are and they are as aggressive as they say [they are] and people say.

"The racing was phenomenal. It was amazing be part of that race, I was on the edge of my seat so for the spectators it must have been great. Being that close to the win, I want to get the win before the end of this weekend."

Asked what he needed to fight for victory on Sunday, the ex-MotoGP rider said: "More front tyre. My front tyre was graining and I was trying to save the tyre a lot. We were not far from the win, so the change we need to make is very small.

"If we can improve the front a little bit on the left side, we’re definitely in a good position to fight for the win as we were today."

Redding also commented on Jonathan Rea crashing out of the season opener, which followed a touch between the Kawasaki rider and BMW man Tom Sykes while the pair were battling for the lead of the race on lap one.

"I did see the collision into Turn 9 between Tom and Jonny," he said. "Then I saw a Kawasaki crash later on and I then found out it was Jonny. Luckily he’s ok, a few scratches, but the main thing is he is good and he can continue to race this weekend.

"It was a good battle so it would have been interesting with Jonny putting his experience into the battle."