A few hours after the announcement of his debut in the SBK World Championship, Danilo Petrucci was the protagonist of the latest episode of our Bar Sport, to talk about the adventure that awaits him aboard the Ducati V4 R of the Barni Racing Team. A new challenge for Danilo, who left MotoGP and successfully ventured into the Dakar and MotoAmerica SBK, before deciding to move to WorldSBK.
"What pushed me more towards World SBK was a bit the fact that I hadn't raced there yet. I had this opportunity with a very competitive bike, which I used this year, but on other tracks and with other tyres and I was excited by the idea of trying it where it's best, because it's the bike that won the world championship this year. I like riding motorbikes and if I have to choose, I choose the most competitive one. I did a lot of thinking. It took me a long time to come to this decision."
Ciabatti told us at EICMA that Ducati's goal was to have you in MotoAmerica again next year, because America is a very important market for Ducati. Did the heart win over?
“Yes, I have to say that it was very difficult to decide, but also because I greatly appreciated the commitment of Ducati and Paolo Ciabatti, whom I thank for what he has done. Eraldo Ferracci and the entire SBK team in MotoAmerica also worked very hard this year to make me race and they would have worked even harder next year to get me race. They are really good people with a heart and it was great to race with Ferracci. He treated me like a grandson when I was there. He's an incredible character and I'm so sorry I didn't go. They had offered me even more than what I earned this year. They wanted me, also because I said right away that I didn't want to come back, because I didn't have the technical guarantees to say 'I'll go there and have fun', because it's a championship that can definitely be won, but this year Gagne had no rivals. We fought it out in the last race because he made a lot more mistakes than me and I picked up on that. I saw a bike with great potential, but with those tyres something different is needed and it's a very big commitment."
If you had gone directly from MotoGP to SBK it would have been different, however, with this period in the Dakar and MotoAmerica, you will encounter even more affection in Europe.
“It was always good. Probably what I did in the Dakar, both on and off the bike, was all extremely spontaneous and this led me to have some big tumbles (laughs). I risked a lot and I liked talking about it, because I was in a totally different world that I had never even imagined. Probably, a lot of people who didn't even know me saw me, because I'm not a very social type. They were three unforgettable weeks, in which all sorts of things happened to me”.
In SBK you will find Razgatlioglu, Rea, Bautista, Lecuona… Who are you most curious about?
“I raced with Iker and I must say that he is strong. Bautista, World Champion, I got to know him and he goes strong. There is little to say when you win. I've never raced with Rea and Toprak and I'm curious, because they are two phenomena in their own way. Now maybe Toprak is in better shape than Johnny, but he too has always ridden very fast. It's often embarrassing to see how Toprak brakes, it's exaggerated. Sometimes you say 'it's impossible' and he takes the corner. I'm curious to see how fast they are. There are many riders. Bassani is also there, he’s very strong”.