“This front row was more unexpected than usual”, Danilo Petrucci does not hide a bit of shock at the 2nd place he earned on the starting grid in Motegi. Not because the Pramac rider wasn’t fast in the practice sessions, but he didn’t seem to have the right ammunition loaded. He was more consistent than fast on the flying lap.
“I did not have the same confidence that I always have on the wet, in spite of being able to maintain a competitive pace - he explains - Then the qualifiers were a real lottery. Until a few minutes before the start, we didn’t know which tyres to put on, but we managed to implement a good strategy.”
For the record, they were the same as Zarco’s: an initial outing with the soft tyre and then another with the extra soft.
“Which I used for a flying lap, as if it were a qualifying tyre. However, at a certain point I also thought about mounting slicks like Valentino and Marquez - he confesses - I noticed that in some points the track was still very wet. It would have been too risky a choice.”
Despite the good placement, something is bothering Danilo. He does not seem entirely satisfied.
“Because I don’t think these qualifiers told a completely accurate story about the values on the field - he says - In very wet track conditions, Marquez, Dovizioso and Lorenzo are very fast and Valentino will also be with the leaders.”
Of those names, who is the favourite?
“Marquez. In FP4 he humiliated us and he was fast in every session. He is the man to beat - came the blunt reply - He is also not at all afraid to risk. It seems as if he doesn’t care about the fact that he is a contender for the Championship.”
Now that the rivals are clear, a strategy must be found.
“First of all, starting without any riders ahead of me will be a nice advantage because when you follow someone on this track, there is not much visibility - he explains - Then, I think that attacking at the start will not be the right choice for me. When I am out front, I am always tempted to do that but then I finish the race with no rear tyre. I will need to fight the temptation. It will be better to stay calm and see how the situation develops.”