There can be no doubt that he has successfully climbed the ranks. Danilo Petrucci landed in MotoGP almost by chance, working his way up a sometimes unstable ladder. His years of effort have most definitely now paid off and his dream has come true, one look at his face saying it all.
“How do I feel? Emotional. A new cycle begins for me, it's like the first time I rode a MotoGP. At that moment I thought I'd made it... but I finished last” he smiles.
That's all in the past…
“In the last 7 years I've struggled, but now I want to show everyone exactly what I've got and prove to myself that I deserve to be a factory rider”.
How will you do that?
“Firstly, I think I have a clear conscience because I've improved year after year. Now I can work with Dovizioso and I'm sure he'll help me, he's already given me a great deal of advice”.
The relationship with a team-mate is generally not so good…
“I know, it's unusual, but I think we need each other in order to achieve our goals. Andrea was telling me all these secrets and at one point I asked him why he was doing that”.
What did he say?
“That he's selfish and sees great potential in me, so he thinks he might need me if he gets into difficulty. I can help him see things in a different way, spur him on. The same goes when we go MX training together”.
How did that come about?
“The great thing is that it was Dovi who asked me. He told me that this season might change my life. I know and I have nothing to lose. I've moved to Forlì, I have a new training method and a new psychologist following me. From the outside, people say they are already seeing improvements”.
But some see you as Dovizioso's squire, does that not bother you?
“From the outside, it might look like that, but I assure you that each of us will be running our own race. I think we can work well together and be allies, not just adversaries. It doesn't bother me that people see me as his squire, but I don't see it like that. We also have very different goals, he's been fighting for the title for two years, while I fought for fifth place for the first time in 2018 ”.
So we won't see sparks?
“My aim is to be a factory rider for many seasons to come, it's not my job to defend Dovi against Marquez”.
Your aim is also to win your first race…
“It's about time! (he laughs), i've come close, especially in 2017 but I've always been missing something. What? Details, coming to a race with clearer ideas, having more confidence in myself. I have to work on this”.
You only have a one-year contract, does this make the season particularly important?
“Every year is important, this year, last year and next year too. I believe that if I'm satisfied with my performance at the end of the year then the renewal will come. I'm not worried about that, I just have to put all the pieces of the puzzle together”.