“Tomorrow I’ll read the papers and realize that I finished 2nd”. Danilo Petrucci is unable to celebrate in full for the podium he earned in Assen. Today he knew and believed that he could win. In the final laps he had planned his attack on Valentino, but things went differently.
“On the penultimate lap I found Barbera who did not give me room and Rins on turn 6. We touched and almost fell - he recounts - I shouldn’t say it, but in Safety Commission the Spaniards are always breaking our balls with the rules and then they are the first ones who don’t follow them. The marshals did not wave the blue flags, it’s true, and I also know that Alex was looking for me to apologise, but when you lap so slowly with rain tyres, you have to be careful.”
In the heat of the moment, Danilo relives that final lap as a lost chance.
“In the dry, Valentino was faster than I was, but in those conditions I could attack him - he continues - I had already done it 4 laps from the end coming out of turn 12. At that spot, the Ducati let me accelerate better. I had prepared everything and then the castle crumbled. I found myself 3 or 4 tenths from Rossi. I recovered there, but I was unable to attack him.”
Thinking it over, in the end Petrucci finds his sense of humour.
“At the end of the day, this is a great result for me, but I truly saw the win so close. In the end, just like yesterday in qualifying, there is always something that screws me over - he smiles - But in recent races I have always been a contender and that is important. In the past I felt fast, but the results did not arrive, whereas lately I am able to score on almost every shot.”
The Italian is no longer a surprise and his hard work is bearing the fruits that had been hoped for.
“I am pleased to have improved my race management, because everyone said that I wasn’t used to being out front - he points out - When you go up against the best, big names who have won races and world championships, whereas I have never done that, staying up with them is rather satisfying.”
In the overall standings, now he is even ahead of Lorenzo.
“And without those two breakdowns in the early races I could be even farther ahead - he says regretfully - But we are only halfway through the season and I am on the right path. The Ducati is proving to be the bike in the best form and my Desmosedici is very similar to the ones Dovi and Jorge have. However, in MotoGP every tenth makes a difference. Today it would have been enough to lose 5 seconds in 26 laps and you were off the podium. It means that you cannot make any mistakes.”
The results are a nice foundation on which to build and Petrux certainly does not want to stop just as it is getting good.
“With Ducati I feel like I am part of a company. There is a lot of me in this bike. After Barcelona I went to Borgo Panigale to celebrate and I felt like part of a strong project - he recalls - Andrea, Jorge and I are three fast riders and I am happy with the work we are doing.”
For confirmation he will not have to wait long. The German GP is only a few days away.
“Last year I did my best qualifiers in the dry but I made a mistake in the race. In Assen my Ducati stopped after being ahead in the wet and in Germany I wanted to humiliate everyone.”
What should we expect this year?
“On the Sachsenring I could even try to win” he laughs… the anger is already fading.