Despite some of the UK basking in record temperatures, wet weather hampered Saturday qualifying at Knockhill with a delayed 40-minute session. Be Wiser Ducati’s Josh Brookes and Scott Redding each took the honours in the opening warmup sessions at the Scottish circuit. However, qualifying did not go to plan with the riders ultimately lining up for Race 1 in 14th and 15th respectively, with Oxford Racing Ducati’s Tommy Bridewell starting Race 9th.
All three Ducati riders made good progress during the opening race at Knockhill, which took place on a wet track with a dry racing line. Bridewell was soon up to 7th and Redding 9th. Crashes and retirements from Andrew Irwin (Honda Racing) and McAMS Yamaha riders Jason O’Halloran and Tarran Mackenzie, the latter who was leading the race at the time, helped them move up the standings further.
Redding was on a charge, with Turn 3 proving a popular passing place for the ex-MotoGP rider as he cut through the pack, making clean passes for positions on Bridewell, Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) and Xavi Forés (Honda Racing).
Running in 2nd, Redding was too far away to trouble the race leader Danny Buchan for the win, with the FS-3 Kawasaki rider claiming his first British Superbike victory. Redding brought his Ducati Panigale V4 R home in a strong 2nd place with Bridewell 5th and Brookes 8th.
Fast lap times from all 3 Ducati riders meant they all had much-improved starting positions for Race 2, with Redding taking pole, and Brookes and Bridewell both starting from the 2nd row in 4th and 6th respectively.
Action was momentarily put on hold in Race 2 after Iddon crashed his BMW on Lap 4 with the safety car coming out. On Lap 10 Redding took the lead from Buchan while Bridewell passed Brookes for 4th before taking another position from Mackenzie at the hairpin for another position.
On Lap 13 Mackenzie got the better of Bridewell to retake 3rd. And then on Lap 17 Buchan passed Redding to retake the lead before crashing out unhurt a just a couple of laps later.
Redding was looking strong out at the front, but the race to the chequered flag was cut short after Brad Ray’s Suzuki had a big engine failure on Lap 25, dropping oil on the track.
The race was declared with Redding taking his 4th win of the season. Bridewell claimed a podium finish in 3rd, with Brookes just a couple of seconds further down the road in 4th.
Redding’s win sees him move to the top of the British Superbike championship with a total of 176 points. Bridewell sits 2nd with 172 points and Brookes is 3rd with 145 points.
Scott Redding (Be Wiser Ducati #45) – Race 1, 2nd – Race 2, 1st
“I was confident because I came fast through, I knew I had the pace. I didn’t really want to lead, I wanted to learn, I need to learn, I’m still learning the tracks. So, when Danny came by, he was pulling away and I could catch him and stay there. Then the safety car came out and I thought ok regroup. We went again and he had a little moment and I thought I’d lead for a bit and see how it goes. I led a couple of laps and felt good. And then I think I ran a bit wide into one of the corners and Danny came by, and I thought that’s ok, I’ll stay and try and learn. I learnt a little bit though the chicane and I thought I’d stay here in 2nd and have a little dig at the end. Danny lost the front and I thought no, I’m leading again, I need to pick my pace up. And then there were oil flags, but it was done. The race was good and I’m happy to have that win and the 2nd earlier.
I think Snett will suit me like Brands to be fair. We’ll get up there, see what we can do, try and get some wins and if not, get on the podium.”
Giovanni Crupi – Scott Redding’s Crew Chief
“He is such a good kid. He’s so good to work with because he always listens and is not scared of trying new things. If they look crazy, I try to explain what I want to do, what I want to achieve, and his feedback is always precise. A pleasure to work with. He’s like sponge, like a kid absorbing everything. It’s good. He’s showing me he can learn a track in one session and he’s surprisingly good at every track now. Let’s look forward for the next rounds and I hope we can continue like this.”
Josh Brookes (Be Wiser Ducati #20) – Race 1, 8th – Race 2, 4th
“To be honest, I’m glad to be leaving Knockhill as it hasn’t been a great weekend and I’m disappointed for the whole team as everyone’s been working hard and putting in as much effort as always. It just hasn’t clicked for me this weekend and although it started well on Friday, it came to a halt after that and we never really progressed with our pace stuck at that level. The weather made it tough although it was the same for everyone, but we made some small improvements for the second race and salvaged a half decent result with 4th. I wish we were going to Snetterton straightaway to clear my head but it’s been a good circuit to me in the past and I’m confident the Be Wiser Ducati will work well there so I’ll be looking to bounce back strongly and get back to the front.”
Tommy Bridwell (Oxford Racing Ducati #46) – Race 1, 5th – Race 2, 3rd
“I’m smiling and sort of happy. This weekend was a bit of a damage limitation for me. I have just genuinely not felt comfortable on the bike all weekend. Really struggled to get my head round the circuit, the bumps, the barriers, everything. 100% honest, it’s days like today, coming away 5th and a 3rd that will put me in stead to hopefully win the championship. Credit to the Oxford Products Ducati Team. They gave me a really good bike. Like I said I couldn’t quite get my head around this place, as stupid as it sounds, as I’ve raced here for years. But on 235hp it all seems a bit smaller and a bit closer. Credit to the team, I’m coming away from here and now on to Snett.”