Finally, a good qualifying session with the official Ducati for Danilo Petrucci, who took second place on the Bugatti circuit at Le Mans and will start in the front row alongside Marc Marquez (first) and Jack Miller (third).
The rider from Terni hit the bulls eye on Thursday thanks to the Ducati's strategy. "I want to start in the first two rows," he had said.
"We thought the best thing would have been to go out with the rain tires and see the track conditions and try to push to secure at least one time, then maybe go out with the slicks, like Rossi in the Q1, but we didn't get a chance. We knew the conditions could only get worse."
In addition to strategy, however, Danilo also managed to follow some good lines on the GP19, expressing himself as best as he could since he's been with Ducati.
"Today, I did what I wanted to and liked," said Petrucci. "The weather conditions gave me an opportunity that I had to take advantage of. In the other qualifications, I always made a mistake. Then, during the race, I was doing well and, because of this, I always had a doubt on what I could have gambled on starting off later. I'm curious to see how I can handle this race."
The qualifications were difficult due to the conditions of the track (wet, but not very), and the strategy was very important to be able to reach the first rows. But tomorrow, during the race, what will the strategy be to stop Marquez?
"Marquez and Vinales are stronger in all conditions, they are the fastest," said Petrucci. "Marc has the advantage of starting ahead, and I think he won't wait for the last laps to try to win. We should try to keep as close as possible to him, but I don't know if I have the pace to keep up. It depends on whether someone else will come along. We should try in the last few laps, but it won't be easy since, last year, I was very close to him, and I wasn't able to pass him. It will be complicated, but I definitely want to stay in the leading positions tomorrow."
The weather, of course, will be a crucial variable. What is the forecast?
"We're not sure how much it will rain tomorrow but, in any case, it will be difficult for everyone. If the conditions are the same as the Q2, I think it'll be hard not to fall during the entire race. The wet tires can't go all the way, and the choice of tires will be a guessing game".
What could the winning strategy be then?
"With these unforeseeable conditions, making a bet on it could be the right move,or a tragedy," continued Danilo. "We could start with the slicks, ride the first few laps very slowly, then maybe think about having an advantage if the track dries off. But we have no guarantees because if this is not the case, we risk throwing away a race.”
However, it will be a very complicated decision, also because Le Mans doesn't help riders at all from this aspect.
"It’ll be very difficult. In the FP4, for example, I was very strong, then I tried to do the same things in qualifying, but the track, even if it seemed the same, gave me different sensations. The asphalt at Le Mans is very dark, and it's hard to understand where it's wet or where it's dry. Racing tomorrow with today's conditions is the situation we all fear because you can win or lose with little effort."