Danilo Petrucci wasn't exactly brilliant in today's qualifying at Valencia. Tomorrow the Ducati rider will start in 15th position on the grid, followed two places behind by Andrea Dovizioso. A penultimate round qualifying session for both experienced Ducati riders and two disappointing results. It should be emphasized that the condition in which Q1 was held created a lot of problems for the riders on the track, with a few drops of rain that made everything even more complicated.
Petrucci did not let himself become downhearted by an unexceptional qualifying session and is confident that he will be able to score a top ten finish in the race, a result he has achieved in the last two races, putting on some excellent comebacks despite starting further back on the grid. The first questions to Danilo in the meeting with journalists, however, focussed on the future rather than the present. The KTM today was very consistent and for Petrucci it represents the future. But it remains to be seen when this future will get underway.
"I have already had meetings with Tech3 to get to know each other - explained Petrucci - mostly to see when we can start working together. Unfortunately, we do not know yet, they have lost their concessions. The idea was to test at the end of the year, but having lost the concessions they will not test. It is not even known when and if the tests will take place in Sepang, in short, everything is a bit nebulous at the moment. We are in contact with the team, we have already had several meetings but just to get to know each other. I have been with Ducati for many years, I don't know any of the technicians. At the moment I have only been in the factory when I signed up and you can't do many things at this stage of the year. It is also difficult to move around Europe at this point".
Both you and Dovizioso will say goodbye to Ducati at the end of the year. Do you think it will be possible to train together again in 2021 in motocross?
"I think we might train together, but I know that he really wants to do it as a professional, so I guess I won't want to go! I think he will go more than me. More than anything else I hope we can go back and do motocross, because in Italy at the moment it is not exactly such a happy moment ".
Going back to the present, tell us how this Saturday went.
"They were very difficult sessions today. I tried in every way in FP3, I wanted to enter Q2 but I missed it by a few tenths. Honestly the whole day was a bit complicated, the worst session was the Q1, it was difficult to understand the conditions of the asphalt. The second attempt with the dry tyres was very difficult, we did not understand the level of grip available. Unfortunately I was unable to be fast with the first tyre in Q1 and with the second it was impossible to improve. It is difficult to find a suitable set-up for the condition, the bike does not turn also because today there was little grip and we know that in a situation of this type our bike suffers a lot. It did it here, at Aragon, tracks on which sometimes there is little grip".
What’s your goal for the race?
"At least I hope to be able to get into the top ten, as I did in the last two races. This time I also start 15th and not 19th, so it should be easier. I try to find at least this positive point, the fact is that today we didn’t figure out what to do to make up for what we were missing. We know perfectly well what we were missing, but we weren't able to solve and find the right solution. I lapped behind Zarco, who is always very fluid in the corners and is fast. I tried to be as effective under braking, but today in some corners it was impossible to brake hard, because doing so meant taking risks. We will try to improve from this point of view tomorrow morning, to try and be aggressive in the race. Last Sunday I had a good pace, but I was struggling to pass the others. My goal remains to finish at least in the top ten ".
Have you already chosen the tyres for the race?
"Yesterday I thought I was going to go with the medium, but today in FP4 the medium didn't work as well as the soft. Tomorrow it should be warmer than today and I know for sure that we will use a hard front, while for the rear we should use a medium. A clear choice for everyone, in my opinion nobody will use the soft tomorrow".
FP3 was not bad at all…
"All in all this morning had not gone badly, I was one of the few to improve my time yesterday. Today, however, there was no time to run on dry asphalt. Today there was a risk and I chose the wrong moment to take risks. Q1 was the only wet session and it's never a good feeling to ride with slicks while you see drops of rain falling on the windshield. There was a risk, I also risked crashing. I am not happy".
What goes through the rider's mind when he is on the bike and it starts drizzling?
"When the situation is this you don't know where the track is wettest and where it is least. The fact is that when you are in qualifying, all the laps are all or nothing and if you miss the right moment it becomes a problem, you aren’t able to recover that moment. It's a mental question, to go beyond those drops you see ".