Scott Redding was left disappointed on Sunday with the lack of top speed in his Open Honda showcasing once again how difficult it is to be competitive on the bike in MotoGP. The Englishman was involved in battles throughout the 22 lap race but with the Honda consistently much slower on the main straight than the Open Yamaha of Aleix Espargaro and the Ducati’s of Michele Pirro and Yonny Hernandez it proved a very trying day for Redding.
The lack of top speed of the Open Honda has been compared to taking a knife to a gunfight and after finishing 13th in Italy Redding explained just how difficult it is to compete with more powerful bikes:
“The start was good and I had some good laps with Aleix,” said Redding. “I felt comfortable on the bike and then I passed Aleix and Hernandez but both could get past me again on the straight and Aleix got a away from me a little bit and I got stuck racing with Hernandez because everytime I got past him he’d get a big tow.
“It was frustrating because I had two or three tenths on them in each sector only for them to come past me on the straight. On about lap nine, coming out of turn eleven, I had a mis-shift and I broke my screen and that cost a lot of aero and meant that I had a lot more wheelie til the end but we kept going. I’m just disappointed a little bit because Abraham beat me to the line and I think that if I had gotten past the Ducati’s and had two laps ahead of them I could have been in the top ten.
“Apart from that the race was good but it annoys me a little to be racing and overtaken on the straight because even if I put 0.3s on them on the infield. Pirro was passing me and putting in eight bike lengths and I’d outbrake him on the outside of him and overtake. It’s a joke to be racing with people that are braking so early and the only reason that I was racing with them was because of the straights. It’s hard not to have the horsepower to get a better result.
The Ducati of Andrea Iannone broke the MotoGP top speed record in Mugello and the new engine parts have certainly helped the manufacturer in a straight line but for Redding any increase in power would have helped. While Aleix Espargaro, riding the Open Yamaha, was able to take advantage of his performance in the mid-sector of the lap and open enough of a gap to hold off the Ducati’s on the straight Redding had no chance to do so:
“With Aleix he could hold off the Ducati’s if he opened a bit of a gap but he could come past me just like the Ducati’s do. It’s frustrating because you know that you can do more but with the power that you have you can’t. Barcelona will be the same thing but there you’ve got two long straights so we’ll see how it pans out. Here the Ducati’s could use the soft tyre so that gave them an advantage so hopefully in Barcelona we can use it and they can’t.”
Redding, who finished runner-up in the combative Moto2 class last year, used all off his race craft to try and get ahead of the Ducati’s but ultimately no matter what he tried he couldn’t find a way to overtake early enough in the lap to take advantage of his more nimble Honda and open enough of a gap:
“I was going around the outside or Pirro or up the inside of Hernandez at the last corner or passing him down seven, eight but it didn’t matter how or where I passed them I couldn’t get enough of a gap. I could make 0.3s on them but it wasn’t enough. I haven’t compared the data to Alvaro but I would reckon that I lose about 0.4s or 0.5s on the straight which is a lot in a straight line. The Ducati is probably a little bit more.”
With the Catalan Grand Prix having a long front straight where once again the MotoGP machines could challenge the top speed record it is unlikely that Redding will have an easier time in two weeks.