Scott Redding admits he was concerned to learn that Open class Honda rival Hiroshi Aoyama would be given next year's more powerful RC213V-RS for this weekend's Valencia MotoGP finale.

Redding heads into the last round of his rookie season with an eight point lead over the Japanese for twelfth in the standings, results obtained while both were riding this year's RCV1000R bike.

The new RS is powered by the Factory RC213V engine and, while clearly much more potent, the lack of any previous set-up experience meant Aoyama was only 21st on the timesheets in Friday practice.

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Redding meanwhile was 18th, just 0.046s behind the quickest RCV1000R of Karel Abraham.

"I don't really know what happened there with Honda giving Hiro the new Open bike and he's only eight points behind me in the championship," said Redding. "He's still going to get classified as an Open rider and if he beats me I'll be disappointed, but actually he hasn't done anything with it so far so I hope it stays like that for this race. I'm just keeping my head down and trying to be the top Open Honda."

Redding made his MotoGP debut at Valencia one year ago, meaning he has some prior MotoGP knowledge of the Spanish venue.

"It was nice to start the weekend when you've had some good laps and have things like the anti-wheelie already setup and I felt that I could build up the rhythm today and not take out a lot of energy. I could do a lot of laps and was quite consistent," he said.

"You can't really use the power here and there's a lot of corners so that's good for us guys and we were only 1.2s off today so we're a little bit closer to the other guys and I was in front of Alvaro which is good. But you've got more Ducatis here this weekend and Suzuki as well which can put you further back the grid as well but we're closer."

Valencia is Redding's last race at the Gresini team before moving to Marc VDS and a Factory class RC213V, which he will test for the first time next week. Redding has now met with his new crew chief Chris Pike, who most recently worked with Jonathan Rea at the Pata Honda WSBK team.

"Yesterday was the first time that we met face to face so we spent half an hour chatting and we seem to get on well," Redding said. "He's quite straight and seems to have a similar style to Pete [Benson] and what I was used to before with straight answers so my first feeling is quite good.

"Valentino took a guy from Superbike and it seems to be working quite well so there's no reason why Chris can't do the same. He seems motivated and can't wait to get out there and start putting it all together."


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