The front row for Danilo Petrucci has become a habit by now. After the one that was taken away from him due to a small mistake at Mugello, the Italian came back first in Barcelona and then today in Assen. The Pramac rider was smiling once again in the Saturday press conference and he compared himself to a gorilla when the fans asked him what animal he would represent.
“I would say we look alike, even in terms of posture - Danilo jokes - Be careful, though. He seems clumsy but in the jungle he is agile and formidable. Don’t underestimate him.”
If MotoGP is a jungle, were you hoping to be the king in qualifying?
“I thought I would be in pole position for the entire fifteen minutes of the first session. Every now and then I looked at the big screens beside the track and I seemed to have a good margin over my rivals. In the end I lost a bit with the rear tyre.”
Yesterday you said the goal was to be the first Ducati rider and you succeeded.
“Tomorrow it will be more complicated to stay ahead of Dovizioso. In dry conditions he has a bit more than I do, but I am not far off and I want to have a go. I just can’t make the mistake from Barcelona when I choked at the possibility of a podium finish.”
A rookie on pole and an outsider like you on the front row. Are you surprised?
“Of course, for some time now I have known that I am fast but I never had the chance to demonstrate it. I think that Zarco and I are somewhat the surprise of this season. Without the two breakdowns I could have been close to him in qualifying, but right now I don’t care. I just need to be consistent. I have known Johann from the days when we raced together on team Ioda, I in MotoGP and he in Moto2, but I did not think he would be able to be so fast and lucid.”
Today you took the Ducati to the top spots, whereas Lorenzo struggled.
“I think that it is a question of confidence more than anything for him. He struggles in these conditions.”
What do you expect tomorrow?
“I would prefer a dry race, although in those conditions I don’t think I would be able to fight for the podium. A problem will be tyre choice because with my riding style and my weight, I wear the rear a lot and the softest compound is unusable for me. It will be a hard battle and I’m sure that both Viñales and Pedrosa will be in the leading group.”