“This morning the engine got excited. It isn’t used to being so far ahead”, Petrucci jokes about his blown engine at the end of FP1 that he finished in the lead. He was then 7th in the afternoon. “It was a unit at the end of its life. We were going to change it this evening, so it’s not so bad” he explains the breakdown.
The weekend start, however, was perfect.
“I started off motivated and that makes the difference. I really like riding on this track. You always turn up positive, but then ‘twixt cup and lip’ … there’s bike a tyres. But starting off being fast straight away helps. I think that it is something that is part of my growth.”
So have you set your sights high?
“Riding a good race here means staying close to the top 5. Today Viñales was very fast and I haven’t forgotten about Valentino. Then there are Dovizioso, Pedrosa and Marquez. However, my real goal is still to be the best Ducati rider. I apologise to Dovi because he’s a friend (he laughs).”
It doesn’t seem easy to stay in front of Andrea right now...
“It’s true. He is faster and he is the one who knows this bike the best and exploits it. I need to work hard to stay with him.”
However, Dovizioso’s goal is the podium…
“Consequently, that means it also has to be my goal. If he doesn’t mind, I’d like to stay a bit closer to him than the usual two seconds (he laughs).”
But Ducati has taken steps forward. What’s the secret?
“I am pleased that it is proving to be competitive everywhere. We found stability in terms of setup. Andrea, Lorenzo, Bautista and I are all very close in terms of settings. We use a very similar setup.”
Lorenzo continues to struggle though…
“I think that the crash at the beginning of the first session today shook his confidence a bit, but I do not underestimate someone like him. I have seen what he is capable of doing in the past and he is a formidable adversary.”