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British Moto2: Great Scott gives champion's ride, Espargaro struggles
2 September 2013 By Lisa Lewis
Scott Redding rose to the occasion and delivered a commanding performance to win his home British Moto2 Grand Prix at Silverstone, in a race which had a massive impact on the title fight.
While being willed to victory by the buzzing home crowd Redding took away a comfortable points lead of 38 into the next round in Misano, as rival Pol Espargaro stuttered to eighth after a tough weekend in the “enemy's house”.
Redding had to work for his win, leading early on only to have his Kalex reeled in by fellow podium finishers Takaaki Nakagami and Tom Luthi, producing an exciting mid-race battle.
The Gloucestershire rider soaked up the pressure, then powered to the finish to become the first British rider to win at home in the intermediate class since Tom Herron in 1976 at the Isle of Man.
“To come here to your home grand prix and stand on the top step of the podium in red, white and blue, well, it doesn't get much better than that, really.
"I was happy with how the race panned out today. No pressure, no real mistakes and we got the result we came here for. To do it on a weekend when we've been celebrating the life of Barry Sheene, one of the all-time greats of motorcycle racing, was just the icing on the cake for me.
"The win today means I leave Silverstone with a 38 point lead in the championship and with one less race for my main rivals to try and reel me in. All in all, a good weekend all round.”
But while it was relatively plain sailing for Redding, Espargaro's ship never really set sail.
The Spaniard arrived at the circuit decidedly under the weather, like many in the paddock as three consecutive race weekends took their toll. Race day did not bring the Tuenti HP 40 rider any better fortune.
Beginning with a fall in warm up - he lost the front at Farm - which left his set-up changes untested ahead of the race, Espargaro struggled, immediately looking uncomfortable and dropping from his sixth place qualifying spot into a battle with Frenchman Johann Zarco.
At one point as low as tenth, a late crash for Xavier Simeon and an overtake on Mattia Pasini lead him to salvage a few extra points as he moved into eighth.
Reflecting on his troubles, Espargaro said: "This has been a difficult weekend. I arrived at Silverstone with sickness and fever, which hampered my work the first day...we have not got a perfect setting”.
He also described how his fall affected him and his spirit, pointing out: “Having fallen I am not told if the changes were successful or not, so we've gone out to race blindly. The decline has lost me a bit of confidence”.
Espargaro added that “This has made it impossible to follow the leading group and they escaped.”
A second success in front of a British crowd after his career first victory in the 2008 125GP at Donington Park, aged just 15, is a career highlight but Redding still sees the championship as a long game, wisely pointing out that “It's never over until Valencia” .