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Petrucci: "The SBK won’t be a quickie, I think Iannone is coming back”

VIDEO INTERVIEW - “In America, I realized that I could still ride a motorcycle. I’m older, but I’m more conscientious. The Ducati? Redding needed a soft Panigale, I need a hard bike like Bautista's. Iannone? He’s coming back.

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The Superbike starts at Misano, and Danilo Petrucci couldn’t miss it. The Barni team rider is back from an encouraging start to the season, and he’s now looking forward to continuing the season in Europe, which will coincide with Assen in April.

But the Barcelona tests are up first, where Petrux aims to progress. We talked about this and much more with him during the presentation of the SBK Riviera round.

Misano is always special, and I have many good memories,” he began. “The challenge with Marquez on a wet circuit in 2017 comes to mind. For fifteen laps, I thought I was going to win my first GP, but it was a searing defeat,” he said smiling. “But I managed to beat him and win at Mugello.”

Danilo, what’s your opinion on the beginning of this SBK season.
I’m excited, especially for Mandalika, since I’ve always struggled in Asia in the past, but I had a much better feeling this time. I’ll obviously be happy when I get on the podium.

Among the new developments, there’s also the Superpole Race ...
It's a different format, and I have to interpret the Pirelli better. Unfortunately, I still lack the right confidence. In fact, I got beat. With three races per weekend, the riders test in the short race. But I’m convinced that, by doing kilometers, I’ll be able to improve.

Have you already been to Borgo Panigale to make the necessary changes to the bike along with the technicians and engineers?
They’re working to put me in the best position, since Bautista and Rinaldi needed more load transfer, while it’s the opposite for me. So I have to lower the center of gravity, but I’m confident I’m going to progress.

Zambenedetti said that, despite your size, you resemble Bautista more than Redding.
Scott and Alvaro are different riders. Scott needed a short, soft bike, while Alvaro needed a hard Panigale. As far as my riding style is concerned, I need more support when braking, so I follow Bautista’s style more than Redding’s.

Danilo, what did you think after Portimao’s test?
I didn’t know where to put my hands. That test led us astray because nothing worked. But we managed to make up for it, starting from Australia, as if we hadn’t gone to Portimão.

From the MotoGP Ducati to the Superbike Ducati. How big was this change?
When you’re on the official team, you have to win or at least be in the top five. The problem is that 2020 knocked me down, since I no longer had that hopeful confidence with the tires brought by Michelin. I was trying to do more, but it didn’t change anything, and it was frustrating. Then I went to KTM, and it was terrible, because I didn’t have the official bike. Lecuona suffered a lot too. Then came the Dakar, and I’m grateful to KTM for that. It gave me great motivation. Finally, America, where I realized I was still capable of riding a motorcycle.”

Now there’s the SBK.
Exactly. I’d like to stay here, and I’d like to win a race. I don’t think it’ll be a quickie.

Have you seen Iannone on the Panigale V4?
Of course. I did see him. I think he’s coming back.


Translated by Leila Myftija

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