Danilo Petrucci managed to climb slightly up the slope he faced this morning at the end of the FP3. The Ducati rider was forced to tackle and, fortunately, overcome the difficult obstacle that was the Q1, then he conquered an eighth place on the starting grid that, all in all, can be considered a positive result, especially in relation to the modest 14th position that Petrucci occupied at the end of the free practice sessions.
During the Q2, Petrux also ended up in the uncomfortable role as privileged spectator, witnessing Marc Marquez's fall. Marc was busy trying to stop Fabio Quartararo's escape while taking advantage of his slipstream, in order to climb the rankings. A move that many condemn but that Marc now repeats at each qualification. He focuses on the rider who he believes is the most dangerous on the track. Danilo gave us his opinion on the matter, completely letting Marquez off the hook and explained his reasons.
"Marc is a champion and, like every champion, he's ruthless. He doesn't care if his moves are good or bad. He only cares about the end result, and that's a champion's attitude. I also ended up in that little group right out of the pit-boxes. Maybe the tire wasn't hot enough on the left side. I don't know. Of course, these tires are great, but they need and can only work when they're in the right temperature range."
Something that reminds us of what happened to you at Phillip Island.
"Marc's accident was somewhat similar to my accident last week, but mine was at a much higher speed. I hope nothing happened to Marc, but it was a bad accident. He lost the rear in the worst moment and really stressed the mono, which made him fly off the bike."
Are you still suffering the after-effects of that fall?
"Yes, physically I have a lot of trouble with my back. After the fall in Australia, I wasn't walking well for 4 or 5 days, and I'm already suffering with pain in my shoulder, then the bruise that got better there is moving towards my pelvis. I hope I won't be in too much pain tomorrow during the race, but I have to say that I'm still feeling some pain. This track is very stressful on a physical level and, with the blow I received, it's not the greatest thing. The race tomorrow will be long."
At least you managed to straighten out a weekend that seemed to be starting really badly.
"I didn't straighten it out entirely, but it's clear that I'm much better this morning. On the race pace, there are several riders that are faster, but we weren't that far in the FP4, although I believe that the first five have something extra, especially the Yamahas. Then there are Marc and Dovi who are also there. We'll have to figure out tomorrow which tires to use because it's still not clear. I have to say that going through the Q1 is always difficult, but I'm not giving up."
Are you afraid that the Yamahas might race alone?
I think the Yamahas are out of reach. Fabio did a great lap, but the other M1s are also all close. We suffer a little in the tightest corners of the circuit, and this means we have to rely on the rear tire some, stressing it when exiting corners and in acceleration. I think the four Yamahas are very competitive for tomorrow, unfortunately."
You were the hare here in February. Why are you on the chase now?
"We're riding a second slower on average than we used to here in February, but the track at the time was in a slightly different condition. There was much more grip on the asphalt, and it was a condition I was able to take advantage of to be very fast. The track does its part, but we have more problems when entering corners."
Forecasts say it might even rain. If so, do you think you're among the favorites?
"We haven't yet ridden on wet asphalt here, and we have no data to use. It's practically been like this since the beginning of the year. It's generally a condition I really like, but it's always difficult to make predictions from this point-of-view. The problem with the water here is that the tires can work very well, but it's always very hot, and you have to be able to manage the rain tires even better than you do when you race on dry with slicks. They tend to overheat, so they're difficult to maintain until the end of the race."
Audio recorded by Matteo Aglio