Scott Redding has described his mood as “more upbeat” after hearing news that the new rear tyre compounds Michelin has brought to Le Mans may offer a solution to the grip issues that flattened his hopes of a good result in Jerez.
The Englishman finished a frustrating 19th from 19 finishers in the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez – “the first time in my career that I finished last, I'm not happy about it” – as a harder rear tyre construction deprived him of sufficient grip, leaving him more than a minute in arrears of the race winner.
Yet Michelin's bringing of three new rear tyre compounds to Le Mans offers the 23-year old hope, as he bids to push his name toward the top of team manager's wish list for 2017.
“I heard some news about the Michelin tyres so I'm a bit more upbeat about it,” said Redding on Thursday afternoon. “After what happened in Jerez, we struggled all weekend. I'm hoping we can turn it around. Michelin were testing in Mugello with some other tyres that seemed to work quite well. I was expecting the same as Jerez but now that I've heard that I'm quite excited to go out and try again.
“If it was another weekend like Jerez, honestly, it's a waste of time being here. We tried everything and we tried more. We didn't find any solution for Jerez. 1m 40.8s was the limit. At the end of the test I was just like, 'Let's go home' because we had nothing more to do. We tried everything with them. I was really frustrated from Sunday.
“It was the first time in my career that I finished last. I'm not happy about it. OK, it was due to some tyre issues but even still… We worked really hard on Monday but no improvement. Different feelings but we had the same lap times. In the end it was frustrating. We did the work we had to do and we now know what to do in that situation that can maybe help. Hopefully the new tyres can make it normal again.”
Redding went on to admit his nightmare in Jerez could not have come at a worse time and the subsequent silly-season speculation, that has rarely featured his name in the same breath as factory seats, has been tough to take.
Still, the Pramac Ducati man sees Le Mans as the perfect opportunity to get his season back on track.
“It's hard because of the news about [Jorge] Lorenzo signing for Ducati. It was one place we showed that we had the potential. In testing I had potential but I came there and finished last. I thought, 'What the fuck?' Obviously no factory is going to want you if the tyre don't work for him. For them it's the end of the road. That was what I was frustrated about. When I went home I couldn't forget what happened.
“If I come here and it's the same thing again it's one less chance to prove myself. People are signing already and I'm out of the picture. When I see a few headlines it's nothing about me. It's because I'm not there. Qatar was average. We had a small thing in Argentina. We were sixth in Texas. Then it looks like I've found my rhythm and then I'm last. When you don't have all the small things the package doesn't work. It shows that if you don't have one small thing like the tyres you can't do anything about it.”