Danilo Petrucci rode hard with elbows wide as if holding a bull by its horns.
The Desmosedici GP is perhaps more difficult to tame and, if you make a mistake, the Ducati turns into a bucking bronco. On the other hand, if it is tamed well, the ‘Red’ from Borgo Panigale provides speed and thrills. One small mistake kept Petrux from a spot on that front row that he was already thinking about as he opened up the throttle on the final corner: “I was doing a good lap – Danilo recounts – I got excited and opened up the throttle early, losing time at Bucine and that was a pity. The front row was within reach, but in any case I am happy. First or second row was my target and we are working very hard, focusing on every single detail, even splitting hairs.”
The results for him and for team Alma Pramac arrived in Le Mans with a nice second place finish in the race. Thinking of tomorrow, the Italian knows that there will be (more) battling to do: “The Grand Prix race tomorrow will be a very hard affair – he continues – The most dangerous adversaries will be Dovizioso and Iannone, in spite of them not starting from the front row. Marquez will also be in the mix, as will I. We’ll see six or seven key riders. We confirmed that we are competitive right here in our home Grand Prix. Our goal is to finish in the top five and, if I get the chance, finding myself in the right position, getting back onto the podium would be a good idea, just as I did last year. We don’t have the pace to win – we saw that in FP4 – and figuring out who will be able to win is not easy. Whoever manages tyre wear will make the difference as it seems like there is more wear than last year, even if there were some record lap times.”
The final comment is about Rossi’s pole position: “Valentino is never a surprise – he stated clearly – You can always expect him to be venomous. Rossi has won here no less than 9 times, so we’re used to him pulling a rabbit out of the hat.”
If Petrucci will be starting from the fifth spot, his teammate Jack Miller will be a bit farther back in eleventh place. The Australian – who went through Q1 to Q2 – also hit a rough patch in the morning: “I am disappointed to be honest and not at all satisfied with this result – Jack admitted – I think that we could have done better, but after the crash this morning, my confidence was a bit shaken up. I fell coming out of the turn and when I went down I hit the wall. In practice I was really struggling with the couple softs I had because I just didn’t have the speed. In Q2 I only had the hard, but the hard front tyre is actually softer than the medium: I was locking the front everywhere and where I had already binned it I was a bit nervous. Race pace is pretty good with used tyres though and we’re optimistic for the race tomorrow.”