Danilo Petrucci’s last qualification riding a Ducati was not memorable. In fact, he wasn’t able to pass the cut in the Q1 and will be forced to set up his race starting from the 18th position in the grid tomorrow. But Miguel Oliveira – who’ll be with the official KTM team next year, leaving his place to Danilo Petrucci – is in pole position. How does it feel to see the competitiveness of your future bike in such a complicated weekend for you?
“It certainly has an effect,” Danilo told us. “I remember feeling similar emotions in 2014 when I was with ART, and Cal Crutchlow did a great qualifying with Ducati. I’m happy for my future team and, above all, because I know that the bike is strong. At the beginning of the year, many had turned their noses up some at the news that I was going to KTM, but I always thought it would be a good choice. From a certain aspect, I have to thank Ducati and Dall’Igna for having reached a decision immediately. At first, I was upset, but then I realized they did it because the story was destined to end, and so that I’d be able to find a place.”
A six-season journey with the Borgo Panigale factory ends this weekend. What are your best memories from these years?
“Certainly, the first podium in Silverstone, then the two victories in Mugello and Le Mans. 2017 was also a good year, and I fought for the victory with Valentino in Assen. I’m satisfied with what I’ve done, but it obviously could have been done even better.”
Tell us about today’s qualifying and these days in Portimao. What problems are you having on this very special track?
“I’m having the most important problems in the fast turns. Two, seven, and nine. I can’t do them well, and I don’t feel the front. I have no confidence in letting the bike go and, in these cases, not much can be done because they’re all sensations. You don’t see these things in the telemetry. They’re vibrations that the bike sends to the rider. Not much can be done, also because we tried a bit of everything with the team. I feel bad because, seeing how the others are doing, it seems that this could be a good track for Ducati. Yesterday, I took some good risks riding above these sensations.”
Portimao, as we’ve said, is a unique, new track for the MotoGP. All the riders seem to like it, but everyone is telling us that it’s very complicated. Would you return there?
“This track is somewhat reminiscent of Laguna Seca. It’s incredible for the fans, and it’s fun for us riders, but when you have to try to detract those tenths, and go at your max with a MotoGP, it makes you crazy. This is a really nice place, a great track, and I’d like to be able to go fast. Anyway, yes, I would return.”