Eleventh in FP3, 20th in FP4, 1st in Q1 and 5th in Q2: Danilo Petrucci went on a Red Bull Ring rollercoaster ride that would frustrate anyone. However, the Pramac rider (the best non-factory rider for the first time this season) is unable to fully celebrate his good performance.
His mind is on the race, where he is well aware that a flying lap will not be enough.
“I am struggling more than at Brno” he admits.
Even if it may seem strange, the problem for him is the new fairing.
“It is simply too small for my build - he explains – No matter how hard I try, I don’t fit behind it and all you have to do is look at the top speed rankings. I am consistently in the last positions. We also mounted a fresh engine today, but it did not help.”
On a track full of straights, the consequences of this problem are easy to understand. All one need do is look at the data: between Petrucci and the best, there is consistently a difference of about a dozen kilometres per hour.
“I’m afraid that tomorrow I’ll be easily overtaken on the straight - he predicts - Then, in FP4 we tried an electronics map to reduce fuel consumption and things went even worse. I am not competitive in terms of pace. I lose too much time on the straight.”
Despite everything, Danilo is still thinking about using the new aerodynamics in the race.
“I am 70% sure that’s what I’ll do - he says - On one hand it is too late to change. There is no time to redo the settings. Also, on this track, one of the few points where you can make the difference is in braking and the fairing helps in that area.”