Scott Redding heads into the opening round of the new MotoGP campaign without facing a great deal of pressure to perform - unlike, he believes, team-mate Danilo Petrucci, who is equipped with a full factory Ducati GP17.

Redding sounded upbeat and full of confidence on Wednesday, a facet that had been missing through the winter months leading up to Qatar, thanks to issues with a lack of front-end feeling on the GP16, the bike he will use in his fourth MotoGP year.

The Englishman switched his front Ohlins forks to those he raced a year ago in the final three-day shakedown, pushing him up the order. Before then, however, he says, he was refusing to get flustered or set himself any lofty targets.

As a result he feels relaxed, an emotion he doubts he would be experiencing if he was in fellow Pramac rider Petrucci's shoes.

According to Redding, the Italian has to beat him and mix it with the factory riders to prove he is deserving of a bike that is more or less the same spec as those used by Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso.

"It's not really a battle now with me and Danilo for the bike," said Redding, seventh fastest at the final preseason test in Qatar.

"A deal was a deal. I accepted it. I'm not going to worry too much about it. It's definitely a bit easier knowing that he has a different bike, and that it's a better bike. If he beats me, that's how it should be. If I beats him, he's in big trouble.

"He's got to be with the factory guys. I don't. That's something that is going to help me. A bit less pressure. A bit less stress when things aren't going right. If things don't go right for me, I'll be on the side.

"If they don't go right for him, people will know he has a GP17. HE knows he has a GP17. If he doesn't perform with it... He's the one that's going to feel the pressure more than anyone else.

"When I look at it now and the problems he's been having I'm actually quite glad that I don't have the bike at this moment in time."

Redding comes into 2017 in a position that contrasts to a year ago, when he was second fastest at the final test, and arrived in Qatar believing a podium finish was possible.

This time around, Redding has refused to set any lofty ambitions, and believes securing top ten finishes will be a real challenge when keeping his package in mind.

"It's different. When I fought for the world title I wasn't top five in any testing preseason. That was by choice. This year it wasn't by choice but maybe it happens that way.

"The only good thing about not being up at the test is that before testing I said, 'Don't go an set high lap times. Don't go out and show yourself. Even if you can do it, don't show yourself.'

"I didn't get the results so I wasn't expecting to be there. That helped me a bit to not be under pressure. The last test, and to have some results, was really good for my confidence. I understood how to go faster.

"Most of the time last year when I did a fast time I had no idea how I did it. Really I felt kind of where I could've improved more. That's helped me coming here."

It was that final testing performance, he said, that really confirmed that he could enjoy a competitive year, a frame of mind he hopes to use to his advantage in the coming four days.

"It kept me cool because I was at the back the whole tests. To come here and we were up at the end was good for my confidence. I set my fastest time at the end of the evening. I was quite tired at the end of the race run.

"Not everyone improved big chunks like I did. With the feeling I've got now I can come in and say, 'OK, let's work a bit on electronics. Or let's work on this.' Before I was just saying, 'I don't know!'

"What I learnt at the last test was how to go faster with a new tyre and how to go faster. I had no real pressure to show anything because I hadn't been anywhere. The three days improved my confidence a lot.

"I saw the times the guys were doing and I thought, 'Woah, that's a long way!' But then I was taking four tenths here, half a second and that's what built my confidence. I knew I could do it."

 

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