Assen conjures up good memories for Danilo Petrucci, today's first day of track action also bringing a smile to his face, considering his third place finish. “It hasn't gone badly today, though we're not the fastest and some riders like Marquez haven't shown their potential. Vinales and the two factory Ducati riders look strong. Let's say that we're there too, but we're missing something in terms of pace if we want to fight for the podium. My foot? It doesn't hurt on the bike, only when I get off, so for now it's ok”.
The road is long though, and the next obstacle is the all-important FP3.
“It will be the usual qualifying session, even if that's not what it's called. When I saw I was fourth with a time of 1’34”0, they told me there were four riders within eleven thousandths of a second, and Zarco is tenth just three tenths back. There's a group of ten riders who can reach the podium or the top five, and our aim for tomorrow morning is to be inside the top ten, then I think the front two rows are within reach”.
In any case, what is certain is that Danilo has made a positive start, more so than at other events.
“At Mugello and Barcelona we were the only ones who hadn't tested and that counts, while here we all start on a level playing field, so there's less catching up for us to do. The important thing is to be up front, but it's hard to make the different, something that Vinales was able to do today. Right now, I think Marquez, Vinales and Dovi will fight for the win, but we need to stick close, then we have all day tomorrow to see how we can do that”.
There are also some new technical elements at Assen, though #9 is still to test them: “I didn't have chance because tyre degradation is severe and this prevents us from having the same level of tyre consistently, which is fundamental when testing new parts. They are small things, which you can only appreciate if you're sorted with the set-up”.
Jack Miller is having more difficulty, lying 16th right now: “We worked on pace mainly, but I struggled, especially this afternoon. Tomorrow I hope to find better stability, particularly at the rear; I think we've taken steps forward from the morning to the afternoon anyway, but we need to take another big step in order to be really fast”.