For the second time on Spanish soil in 2016 Scott Redding was out of the points and fresh out of spirit. Like Jerez in late April, high temperatures and low grip left the Englishman struggling down the order in Barcelona. But at least on this occasion the post-race test offered some positives.
On the Monday that followed the seventh race of the season, in which the 23-year old finished a disappointing 16th, Redding focussed mainly on electronics improvements and to find a way to “cradle” the rear tyre when the track surface is slippery.
Michelin brought a fresh batch of new rubber to test, but Redding wanted to find a solution to his Sunday woes, using the compounds with which he struggled in the 25-lap affair. Consistency and the feeling in general improved, giving Redding the impression that if and when he encounters similar conditions in the future, his struggles will not be anywhere near as pronounced.
“I'd have liked to have had the set-up now on race day,” he said soon after the test concluded.
“We did a lot of laps on tyres. We tried to work on electronics and the bike. It went quite well. We made progress with electronics and the set-up. We did 21 laps on a set of tyres and I just started to drop into the 48s on the last two laps.
“If you gave that to me yesterday [Sunday – race day] I'd have taken it with both hands. We found some things but it's too late. The race was yesterday. If we come to this situation again I think we'll be able to improve from the race.
“I didn't really want to try the new tyre early. I wanted to work with the old ones, in the worst conditions. Now, even in good conditions that will work well also. In the afternoon it was quite good. I set my fastest lap before the end.
“I went out again. Vale [Rossi] was in the distance. I had a bit of a target and I matched the same lap time, which I struggled to do all weekend. I had a bit more consistency and a bit more grip on the right side. I was quite happy with the tyre. It looked a little worse but the feeling was there.”
The race in Barcelona was a disappointment mainly because Redding had showed a strong pace in free practice – he sat as high as fifth in FP4.
Come race day and Redding wasn't alone in his struggles. Fellow Ducati men Danilo Petrucci and Eugene Laverty also complained of extreme tyre degradation. Italian Petrucci even stated the issue was more pronounced in hot conditions with the Bologna machinery.
Asked why Ducati may suffer more in this way, Redding offered, “I think they stress the tyre a bit more than other manufacturers.
“I don't think it's just the power, but also the chassis. When the tyres are quite delicate, if you have something that's going to stress it more [and] make it worse – and I'm also heavier – I struggle more than the other guys.
“For me at the end of the race it was un-rideable. I just tried to bring it home. I didn't even think I could do that. It's a little bit the bike, a little bit the Michelins, a little bit the electronics. It's not just one thing. It's all little things that can make a big difference.
“It's just trying to not damage the tyre, like cradling it. It's a hard thing to do when you're racing. What Ducati did, a strong engine, it doesn't make that easy. The power is quite smooth, so you can adjust it. It's something we need to work on a bit more and spend some time digging deeper into it.”
Heading to Assen – a circuit that rarely suffers from extreme heat – Redding is confident he has a variation of set-ups that can cope in a variety of conditions. There, the Englishman will hope to bring a run of four races without scoring a point to an end.
“I think the test will help in the cooler conditions. We're usually OK. The long distance, the set-up I've got now will help then too. Today I started a little later so we were working in the hottest part of the day. That's what I said to Giacomo [Guidotti – crew chief]. It paid off. I found some key points today.”