Scott Redding made his MotoGP debut on a Honda RCV1000R in 2014 as the youngest-ever grand prix winner – courtesy of victory in his home 125cc grand prix at Donington Park, aged 15 years and 170 days.
Since that classic 2008 afternoon, Redding has grown in stature, and not only as a rider. His height and weight (185cm and 70kg) were a serious disadvantage in the Moto2 class, where all bikes use identical race-prepared Honda CBR600 engines. Only when a new combined bike-and-rider minimum weight was introduced in 2013 could he come closer to his full potential.
He did so by leading the World Championship, only giving way to eventual winner Pol Espargaro after two unlucky crashes in the closing rounds.
Redding started racing aged eight, in the British Minimoto championship in 2001. In 2004 he won the British MiniGP championship, as well as the 80cc Spanish Calypso Cup series. Talent-spotted for the Red Bull MotoGP Academy, he moved to 125cc GP-style bikes; and he was second in the 2007 national Spanish CEV championship, winning the last three races.
Scott moved straight into GPs, and took that classic first-season race win, finishing 11th overall at his first attempt.
After one more year, Redding moved to the new Moto2 class, claiming two rostrum finishes, but already suffering from higher tyre wear and a lower top speed than his rivals. Even so he was eighth overall, and fifth two years later, after a crucial switch from a Suter to a Kalex chassis.
Although once second and three times third in 2012, he had yet to win a race. That changed in 2013, when the new bike-rider weight limit went some way to redressing his problems. After two second places from the opening three races, Redding took the fourth and fifth round race wins in France and Italy, building up a strong overall lead on points.
He defended that lead with four more visits to the podium, including another wildly popular home race win in the British GP at Silverstone. Then he broke his wrist in a high-speed crash in practice for the Australian GP. He returned bravely after corrective surgery to fight on just one week later at Motegi in Japan, only to fall innocent victim to another rider’s mistake in a first-lap melee. He crashed heavily, and this time was unable to take part in the restart, ending his hopes of preventing Pol Espargaro clinching the crown.
Both moved to MotoGP the following season, but while Espargaro was on a factory class M1 at the Tech 3 team, Redding was on the uncompetitive open class Honda at Gresini.
Adapting to MotoGP with aplomb, Redding extracted the maximum out of the Gresini machine in 2014 despite its evident limitations, failing to score just twice and reaching as high as seventh on two occasions. Comfortably the fastest Honda production rider in 2014, against some experienced opposition, the more telling result is the fact he finished just a few points shy of team-mate Alvaro Bautista on the full factory-specification Honda.
With the promising first season of MotoGP under his belt, much was expected of Redding as he switched from open machinery to a full specification Honda under the guidance of his former Moto2 team, Marc VDS.
However, the Englishman’s failure to ever get to grips with the RC213V left him floundering relative to key rival Cal Crutchlow and top ten finishes were hard to come by. An against-the-grain maiden podium in Misano will give Redding reason to remember the 2015 season, but 13th overall with almost the same points as he managed on an ‘open’ Honda in 2014 will want to be forgotten quickly.
Redding is seeking a fresh start at Pramac Ducati in 2016.