Marc VDS rider Scott Redding could be poised for a switch to the Pramac Ducati team in 2016, according to reports.
Redding has endured a tough sophomore premier class campaign aboard the Marc VDS Honda, having scored just 37 points so far – eight less than this time a year ago on the Japanese manufacturer’s Open class machine.
The Brit’s struggles have prompted speculation that Redding is looking to depart the Belgian squad in favour of the vacant berth at Pramac Ducati alongside Danilo Petrucci.
I don't want to put a rider on my bike who does not have a smile under his helmet.
Marc VDS team boss Michael Bartholemy
While Motorsport.com understands that Moto3 points leader Danny Kent remains the frontrunner for the ride, having been offered a three-year deal by Pramac, Redding could still get the seat if Kent opts instead to stick with his current Leopard Racing team for an assault on Moto2.
Marc VDS boss Michael Bartholemy, who is also Redding’s personal manager, confirmed that there have been discussions about a potential switch, admitting his protégé has been unable to feel comfortable on the RC213V.
“We have been talking to Pramac about Scott,” Bartholemy told MCN. “I don't want to put a rider on my bike who does not have a smile under his helmet.
"Scott is not happy on the bike, he can't find the right feeling with it. He wants to try something different.
“If something isn't working you have to make a change.”
Redding "hasn't lost his talent"
Ducati’s Paolo Ciabatti is convinced that 22-year-old Redding, who became the youngest race winner in Grand Prix motorcycle racing history following his maiden 125cc win in 2008, still has what it takes to succeed at the highest level despite a lack of recent results.
"Scott is not having good year in his first year in MotoGP and it seems he is finding the Honda package not so easy to ride," Ciabatti said according to Fox Sports.
"I don't think Scott has lost his talent, he can't be hot property one year and then nothing. We like him very much and we made him an offer last year to come to Pramac but it didn't happen."
Ciabatti nonetheless believes that Kent is capable of making the step up from Moto3, adding: “I think Danny is mature enough to make the move next year - the switch too Michelin tyres would make it easier for him if it happens.”
An announcement is expected from Pramac ahead of next weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone, where local heroes Bradley Smith and Cal Crutchlow are also tipped to confirm that they will be remaining at Tech 3 Yamaha and LCR Honda respectively in 2016.
If Redding were to leave Marc VDS, defending Moto2 champion Esteve Rabat is the prime contender to replace him, although it remains possible that the Belgian team could expand to a second bike to accommodate the Spaniard even if Redding ultimately stays put.
2016 MotoGP line-up so far:
Riders in italics have yet to be confirmed
TBA - Sam Lowes has pre-contract, but Stefan Bradl could remain
|Tech 3 Yamaha||
|LCR Honda||Cal Crutchlow|
|Marc VDS Honda||TBA - Scott Redding, Esteve Rabat both possible|
TBA - Danny Kent thought to be frontrunner, Redding possible
TBA - Eugene Laverty has contract, but Rabat possible