Danilo Petrucci was the first Ducati rider at the finish line of the German Grand Prix. A result that could perhaps give him a bit of satisfaction but that is actually obscured by the big gap between him and the dominator of the day, Marc Marquez. In fact, Petrux reached an, all-in-all, positive fourth place, whipping into shape his two teammates, Dovizioso and Miller, but he crossed the finish line 16 seconds after Marc, who also had the pleasure of slowing down on the last few meters.
Danilo's disappointment was evident on his face, but so was his firm will to change the situation rather than surrendering to a negative trend that has, for several races, been dragging the Ducati towards a performance in the race far from the ambitions cultivated by those at Borgo Panigale.
"We got more than half a second per lap from Marc," said Danilo. "We got 16 seconds in total, which could have been even more. We're obviously not happy with this, but Andrea, Jack, and I are working hard. We're doing everything possible. Even battling between us, it seems to me that we've given them all the laps but, in my opinion, we have arrived to what is the limit of the bike. No one can do anything more. Even Jack, who started from the second row, arrived behind us, and started from the fourth and fifth row. I guess doing more than this is difficult."
A result that could also lead to scepticism in the pit-box.
"There's no scepticism in our pit-box. There's only the desire to stay in front. The fact is that, right now, we have opponents that are stronger than we are, but I'm not sparing myself at all. I'm trying to do my best, and this is my best MotoGP season. So I think I'm doing my best, but it's clear that sometimes doing your best with Ducati is not enough. Today we got 16 seconds from Marquez, at Assen 14. At Mugello, we did our best and arrived first and third in the sprint. Unfortunately, we can't do more right now.
Is this situation someone's responsibility?
"I also put myself among those responsible. I'd like to do more, and I'd like everyone to do more at home too. Now we'll have a few days off and, after a bit of rest, I want to start working even harder because I want to recover even more. I want to believe again that anything can still happen."
You also proved you'd be able to win this season.
"The thing that worries is precisely today's gap, which is too big. We won on two tracks where we were favorites, like Qatar and Mugello, but both Dovi and I made it only at the last meter, playing it out till the end."
Do you think you learned to make the most of your bike or are you still comparing yourself with Dovi to improve?
"Andrea has always been my reference ever since I arrived at Ducati. Iannone was also very strong with this bike and so was Jorge, but both had two styles of riding that were a bit different than my style, that is more like Dovizioso's. We both take advantage of the best features of this bike, which are braking and accelerating."
So you're very similar.
Yes, and Andrea has always helped me, but he's certainly doing even more this year. It's clear that seeing him going strong, I tried to get closer to him. I studied his data and he's always been very helpful in giving me advice. Today, however, we really reached the limit. He could have arrived in front, or I, it wouldn't have made much of a difference. I might have had a small advantage today thanks to my weight that, in some curves, gave me more traction in the rear, but all three of us were really close, Miller too. We certainly didn't spare ourselves. No rider likes to arrive behind the others."
How will you use the three-week break?
"This vacation will help me reset myself from the two races that have been terrible, without a doubt, even if I'd like to add Barcelona to the list, as well because I think that was a big jolt for the world championship. I''ll use these days to rest but also to work, to recover as much as possible in view of tracks where we'll have the chance to battle it out with Marc. There's still half a championship to go and, like I said, I'd like to finish in the top three."