Scott Redding experienced the full spectrum of emotions on Sunday at Phillip Island as he turned a disastrous morning warm-up session around to finish at the head of a breathless seven-rider fight for seventh.
Dire weather conditions had limited riders to next-to-no dry track time before Sunday, leaving the field with just 30 minutes to conjure up an effective dry set-up for the 27-lap race.
At the close of that session, Redding languished in 13th, having experienced a chronic lack of rear grip that had the Englishman expecting a dismal race.
Shrugging off some mistakes, the 23-year old felt his way into the race, and soon made his way through five other riders to sit at the front of the scrap for seventh.
“It was a hard day because this morning we were completely in the shit,” said Redding. “I made two lap times this morning but was really over the limit and I really thought we were going to have a shit race. If we changed a lot the bike with set-up and electronics. We had no grip. Rear entry, exit, it was just zero. I really thought it was going to be bad.
“At the beginning of the race I had to find my confidence and the feel of the bike came back. I still didn't have so much confidence but I could work how I wanted to. Then I could start building my speed a little bit. When we were battling I wasn't over the limit.
“I was quite comfortable until the end when I had a lot of rear grip drop especially on the entry to turn two and turn five. I had two or three big rear slides when I was pulling away. I was getting a gap, make a mistake and then I'd lose the time again. From the weekend we've had I'm really happy for the result.
“Also at the beginning Danilo was third and I thought, 'Game over. The race is done for me.' But I got my head down, started plucking away and it shows not giving up pays off.
Currently embroiled in a tight inter-team scrap with Petrucci for a Ducati GP17 next year, Redding's performance was made all the sweeter considering he finished two places ahead of team-mate Danilo Petrucci – another confidence boost going into the final two races.
“Like I said, this race is between me and Danilo. At the beginning when he was gone I thought, 'It's done.' Then when he came back and I thought, 'OK, we're back in the game.' In Japan, we didn't beat him, but we made a big step. That was the main thing for me, we stayed with him, now we beat him. It's getting back to where it should be. It was tough.
“We came from a long way this morning. I really didn't expect that at all. Today was one of those days, I dug in and everything worked better than I expected, and it gave me the performance and the result back. It was a nice battle, even with Jack there, and Nicky, Bradl was there.
“It was a bit hectic, don't get me wrong. A lot of stupid moves made for no reason that was keeping the group together. For me, that was good. In the beginning there was a big gap from me. Jack and Danilo were battling and that helped me a lot.”
The performance was all the more satisfying considering several encounters earlier in the year when the Englishman had struggled to find any rear grip. Unlike Jerez and Barcelona, Redding could overcome those in the race.
“It's experience. In Jerez, Barcelona, those things you can't do that overnight. Here there was no grip but the track conditions got a little bit better. This morning we were so far I just didn't know. I couldn't brake. I didn't know where to brake to turn in. I was just all over the place. I wasn't really in the zone.
“In the race the main thing was to get a good rhythm. That was the main thing. I wasn't worried about anything else – just get my head down and do a good job.”