Scott Redding has insisted he is yet to sign a deal with Aprilia for the 2018 MotoGP season, but admits he is talking to the Italian factory while considering the possibility of a return to the Marc VDS Honda squad.

The Englishman was reacting to the news that he is to replace the outgoing Sam Lowes at Aprilia next year, information triggered by Thursday’s announcement Jack Miller is to move from Marc VDS Honda to Redding’s seat at Pramac Ducati in the November of this year.

On Friday, Redding spoke of the possibility of returning to Fausto Gresini’s Aprilia squad, the team boss for whom he competed in 2014, while saying he was also weighing up the possibility of moving across to Marc VDS. That, in spite of him stating, “There's not really many options. In fact not 'options'. It's more 'one option,'” on Thursday.

And despite the Englishman’s protestations that the deal has yet to be finalised, Sam Lowes revealed he was told of Aprilia’s decision to replace him with a “less risky option” – Redding – by racing boss Romano Albesiano on Thursday evening.

Several sources in the paddock have also confirmed Redding will line up for Aprilia in what will be the 24-year old’s fifth MotoGP campaign. It may not be finalised at this moment, but it appears there is, at the very least, an agreement in place that will see him partner Aleix Espargaro there next year.

“Sam is out but it doesn't necessary mean I am in,” Redding said. “At the moment there is nothing on paper. We had some contact before, like also with VDS, so at the moment there is nothing really official. Nothing really done. That's why I'm still giving everything like always to try and still show myself.

“To be honest it's still just kind of talking. In the end I also need to make the right choice for my career. It's not a decision I will make overnight, tomorrow or even Sunday. I need to be really sure what I do and right at this moment I cannot say which way I'm going to go or even if I'll be around.

“I woke up this morning and everyone said 'Scott, you signed for Aprilia'. Well, my pen hasn't touched no contract. For me, that's news. I have been in contact with them, but there is nothing on paper. It's not done and I'm sat with my feet in the air saying 'job done'. Even my own family were asking and I said, 'if I'd signed, I'd tell you first'.”

When it was put to him that he had stated on Thursday he only had one option from which to choose, Redding smiled. “Hard to say," he said. "I only heard this morning that Sam is not staying at Aprilia. So now I have to make a decision. Like I say, I do have contact with them. But nothing is agreed and I have to make the right decision for me. It's really important because I have my back against the wall. It was only one option, now there is the possibility of two. I cannot really say what is the right way.”

So the other is Marc VDS? “Yeah,” he said. “They are the only two spots that are left. If you look at it that way it is not hard to put the two together. But at the end I have to make the right decision and nothing is yet on paper.”

Does he have a preference at this moment? Redding considered, “That's difficult. I mean, going back to VDS I know the team, it's a great team. With a Honda, a bike that is quite competitive. A bike that I struggled on in the past with my size, but again different engine, different tyres, so many things that are positive and negative.

“I look to Aprilia. It's a new project. The bike is getting better and I believe in a factory team they will develop. The bike hasn't stopped growing. It's got better, better, better. And that for me is something important. I've always liked to develop bikes. In Moto2 when I fought for the championship, two years with that Kalex, a little bit here, a little bit there. I like that. It motivates me. Not go testing and got jack shit to test.

“I don't know what my real preference would be for the perfect scenario for me in further years in this paddock. But it's hard to chose. Now I have a choice. There are a lot of positives to each. I won’t to make results. Everyday that's what I come here for. So I need to find the right back that suits me to make those results.”

What’s more, Aleix Espargaro, a rider with a similar stature to Redding, has shown strong potential this year, and is now regularly pushing for top six finishes. “That's a positive,” Redding said. “The bike is really good on tyres for a race simulation. Something I struggle with is tyre wear, due to my size and weight. So that will help me. And smooth power. The rider at the moment is a similar size to me, okay a little bit lighter. So that is a positive and make me think 'we can do it'. But again there are some negatives to go with a bike that is still developing.”

Looking ahead to the final eight races of his tenure with Pramac Ducati, Redding said there were “no hard feelings” after he was informed at the German Grand Prix that he would not be continuing alongside Danilo Petrucci in the satellite squad for a third straight season.

“I knew already from the Sachsenring I wasn't going to be in the team, but it's not big deal,” he said. “There's no hard feelings. It's racing. It's what we come here for. One goes there, one goes there. If you don't make results you’ve got to move on and find something better. For me I don’t really care. I've had my chance here, done some good results and also struggled a bit.

“So in the end I understand that they want to try someone new. It's a bit shit that I was in the situation a few weeks ago with nothing, but now I've got something on the table. Good luck to him and at the end of the day it's racing. It's not an easy bike. I mean I thought the same, 'fucking hell, the Ducati is fast'. I got on that beast and thought 'Hmmm, ok. It's not easy'. From outside it looks alright, but you look at the riders making it work. It's the bigger, stronger riders. The smaller riders are struggling. So let’s see how he gets on.”

Redding was the ninth fastest rider on Friday afternoon, 0.719s off pace setter Andrea Dovizioso’s quickest time.

 

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