First day in the paddock with the KTM colors for Danilo Petrucci who, after his experience in the official Ducati team, moved to Tech3, the satellite team of the Austrian constructor. For 2021, Danilo will have all the support from KTM, with official bikes and materials, despite being in the Tech3 team. Could less pressure deriving from not being in an official team enhance Petrucci’s talent?
“It took a familiar environment like that of Tech3,” Danilo told us from the Losail track. “The team won two races in 2020, and that’s not something that many have done. On a technical level, we’re up there with the best. There’s a good structure and a good bike, and I believe that I’ll be able to play it right. It would already be great to repeat the results from 2020, and the important thing is, what’s different from the official team are only the shirt and motorcycle colors. I’ve been imagining for a long time what it would be like to try the KTM. I’ll find out in twenty-four hours.”
Five days of testing in Qatar and then two race weekends always on the same track. What are the important things to do during these days?
“First of all, I’ll have to find a good position on the bike. You need ergonomics to go fast, and we’ve already worked a lot on this in the factory but, obviously, it’ll be different on the track. Another fundamental aspect is the set-up. I’ll have to find a good base, and five days is certainly enough to do it, even if the window of optimal conditions here in Qatar is very small. Moreover, there’s also a lot of wind. The best time to get on the track is the hour before sunset, but it’s humid. Certainly, there are many days of testing, and we’ll have to start getting ready and figuring out the tire for the race. We’ll all be close.”
You’re the only “new” rider in KTM. Who of the other three do you see as a reference?
“It’s hard to say who the reference is in KTM. Everyone has already ridden the bike and knows it much better than I do. They’ll all be a reference for me.”
How are you on a physical level?
“After the fall in Jerez last year, it was difficult. I had neck problems, and after going to the rally in Sardinia, I decided to stop because the pain had spread to my right arm. I no longer had control of my arm. Not the best for a rider. I did a lot of neck and shoulder exercises to get better and, in the last couple of months, I followed an intense workout schedule, so much so that in the twenty-four-hour quarantine at the hotel I had yesterday, I enjoyed it. At the Red Bull Performance Center, they gave me a lot of information. Then, at home, I worked with a trainer, osteopath, and physiotherapist. Compared to other years, everything has changed.”
Your former teammate, Dovizioso, started competing in cross recently. Did you watch him?
“I didn’t see Dovi’s results in the regionals, but I’m happy because I think it went well. We met some time ago, but we never crossed paths. He then went to train in Sardinia. We’ll see each other again soon.”