Redding makes sensational BMW World Superbike switch
Scott Redding has made a surprise decision to join BMW's factory team for the 2022 World Superbike season, the German manufacturer has announced.
Redding will join the under-contract Michael van der Mark on one of BMW's Shaun Muir Racing-run M1000RR bikes next year as he ends a two-year relationship with Ducati's works outfit.
It follows the Briton hinting at a possible exit from the Italian manufacturer during this month's Most round.
“We are very pleased to welcome Scott to our WorldSBK family. In the last years," said BMW Motorrad motorsport director Marc Bongers. "He has proven to make a great transition from [Moto]GP through BSB into WorldSBK, to become one of the strongest riders in the field.
"We are therefore convinced that Scott, with his fighting spirit and absolute will to win, is the perfect new addition for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team and another reinforcement for our entire WorldSBK project. A warm welcome to Scott, we are looking forward to a strong collaboration.”
Redding in theory replaces 2013 WSBK champion Tom Sykes in BMW's factory squad for next year, but the team's statement stressed that "talks are currently underway" with Sykes regarding an extension to his contract.
It raises the prospect that the works BMW outfit could expand to a third bike for next year, or Sykes being placed at one of the marque's satellite outfits.
Redding was brought into the factory Ducati team last year as a replacement for Honda-bound Alvaro Bautista, following his British Superbike championship win aboard a Panigale V4 R.
He finished second in that year's standings to Kawasaki's Jonathan Rea, and is currently placed third behind both Rea and Yamaha man Toprak Razgatlioglu following the Most round.
Redding openly floated the prospect of switching manufacturers speaking to the media at Most, suggesting that Ducati was not giving him due credit for his performances aboard the V4 R.
"I like it when people appreciate [I can make a difference as a rider], and it gets under my skin when they don’t, when they just expect it," he said in what now appears to be a veiled swipe at his Ducati bosses.
It's also believed Ducati was thought to be growing increasingly unconvinced that Redding was capable of ending a decade-long WSBK title drought for the Borgo Panigale firm, leading to speculation that it could reunite with Bautista - out of contract at Honda - for 2022 and beyond.
Redding's exit paves the way for Bautista to join Michael Ruben Rinaldi, on whom Ducati has an option for 2022, in the works team. The Spaniard was quoted by German publication Speedweek as saying he already been made an offer by another manufacturer.
Should Honda lose the services of Bautista, it has been speculated that current Go Eleven Ducati rider Chaz Davies could be a candidate to fill the Japanese manufacturer's vacant seat alongside Leon Haslam.
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