SCOTT Redding is relishing his chance to rub shoulders with the big boys of MotoGP this weekend.
The Quedgeley rider is all set for the Qatar Grand Prix – the opening round of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship.
Having finished runner-up in last season’s Moto2 World Championship, the Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini rider is excited by the prospect of stepping up in class.
“Racing for the first time in MotoGP will be a great thrill, no doubt: after all, competing in the premier class is a dream for every rider,” he said.
“When I will line up my bike on the starting grid, for sure I will feel a little nervous, but also very curious to begin this new adventure and finally see what we can get.”
After two months of testing, the former Severn Vale School pupil can’t wait to compete on the Losail International Circuit – the only race of the 18 on the MotoGP calendar to take place at night.
This season sees the introduction of new technical regulations, with ‘Open’ machinery racing alongside the ‘Factory’ bikes.
The Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini will race both configurations, with the 2014 version of the well known Honda RC213V for Redding’s team-mate Alvaro Bautista and the brand new RCV1000R developed by HRC – the so-called “Production Racer” – for premier class debutant Redding.
Redding has enjoyed an impressive winter testing, spending valuable track time familiarising himself with the bigger Honda RCV1000R.
And after making the grade at both Moto3 and Moto2 levels in his formative years, the 21-year-old is can’t wait for his chance to do battle with established stars like Nicky Hayden, Marc Marquez and six-time World Champion Valentino Rossi.
He said: “I like the Losail circuit a lot, as well as racing at night: not being able to see anything else around the track is a strange but pleasant feeling, because it helps me to stay focused.
“Finally, it is very cool to think that my first MotoGP race will be exactly my 100th World Championship Grand Prix.”
First practice in Qatar takes place tomorrow evening, with a further free practice session taking place on Friday night.
Qualifying takes place on Saturday evening , with the race starting at 7pm on Sunday evening UK time.