MotoGP » 7 July 2013
Redding rides ex-Kevin Schwantz 500cc Suzuki!
"The bike was absolutely amazing. Okay, the brakes weren't great, but we were expecting that. The handling was incredible because the bike is so light; it was really easy to change direction. It accelerated hard too, with the front coming up in every gear," said Redding.
"I didn't need a rev counter; I just changed up whenever I felt the front wheel was high enough! There was a lot of power, but it was pretty controllable, nothing like the razor sharp powerband I was expecting. It turns like a 125 and was still pulling in sixth. They should bring these back. It was absolutely mega to ride!"
With no engine braking from the two-stroke motor, Redding wasn't able to give the Spa crowd a demonstration of backing it in, for which he's well known in Moto2, but he did manage to show them what the elbow sliders on his leathers are for.
"I was knee down and I could see I was quite close with the elbow, so I just leant it over a bit more and down it went. I don't think they did that in 500GP back in 1994, but then the tyres we were using today offer a lot more grip than those Kevin Schwantz had to contend with when he raced the bike."
It was on this bike that Schwantz enjoyed his last World Championship success, winning the 1994 British Grand Prix at Donington Park, which, coincidentally, was also the scene of Redding's first ever Grand Prix victory in 2008.
By riding the Suzuki RGV500 at Spa, Redding is now one of a very small group of riders who have experienced both four-stroke and two-stroke grand prix machinery, having tested Ducati's Desmosedici MotoGP bike at Mugello in 2012.
"I'd like to say a massive thank you to Steve Wheatman for letting me loose on his rather expensive bike, and also to Olivier Aerts for organising the ride today. It was great fun and I hope I'll get the chance to repeat the experience in the not too distant future," concluded Redding.
Redding will now head East from Spa, to the Sachsenring, where he'll defend his Moto2 World Championship lead in the German Grand Prix next weekend. Redding is heavily linked with a move to the premier MotoGP class next season.
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