Smashing the track record can be a good way to silence the gossip mongers. Danilo Petrucci is well aware of this, and on the final day of testing at Sepang he decided to do just that, stopping the clock on 1’58”239 to round out the day at the top of the timesheets.
“It's a nice feeling of course – begins Danilo – particularly seeing as I don't really enjoy the heat of Sepang. The result is useful in showing that when necessary I can do it, but the race is another matter entirely, also in terms of the conditions. We need to be careful though as Yamaha has taken a big step forward, Rins and the Suzuki are fast and the Hondas will definitely be quick too, particularly in high temperatures. It's a great way to start the year though, I didn't expect it”.
Petrux continues to explain his thinking.
“I wanted to understand the difference between having a factory bike on the factory team and having the same bike on a private team, and certain things are now clear. This year certain aspects are better of course, Andrea is helping me and I hope to return the favour. Right now, I'm doing my best, that's ok with him but it's not enough, our aim is to have a bike that is consistently faster than the others”.
Danilo goes on to analyse all of the work completed over the three-day test.
“The most satisfying part were those two half race simulations I did with Dovi, especially the second one in which I was fast and ahead despite the used tyres. Generally, I struggle to be as fast as him when it's hot, I'm still too instinctive. I know that the MotoGP level gets higher each year and the fact that there was no longer room for someone like Pedrosa is striking. The top 10 are potentially fighting for the podium, and those outside of that risk losing their ride. The aim is to be inside the top give, but I think many riders have the same target so it won't be easy”.
There are still some technical aspects that require work.
“I'm still testing the frame and need to decide, while the winglets I had to test were the latest technical specification, but unfortunately I crashed straight after mounting them. The new tyres compounds? My crash prevented me from testing them, as we were going to do that at the same time as testing the winglets, which broke in the crash. My day was essentially over by 2pm”.