Danilo Petrucci ended the first day of free practice at Portimao with a not particularly exciting performance. Nineteenth position in the combined standings certainly does not represent the best way to start his last weekend as an official Ducati rider, but this is the situation and Petrucci just wants to turn over the page and find a solution.
The first approach on the Ducati Superleggera was much simpler, even if in reality Danilo knew the Portimao track very well, having raced and won there in Superstock, on a Ducati 1098R.
“When we came to test with the road bikes and non-MotoGP tyres, the sensations were different – explained Petrucci – Those are softer and more flexible bikes and that helps a lot. MotoGP bikes are made to go very fast, but here there are bumps and ups and downs. Then there are also a lot of holes and this makes it even more difficult to set the bike up. If you can sort out a MotoGP bike here, you find yourself with a set-up that allows you to go fast everywhere. It all seemed easier”.
You didn’t expect to suffer like this…
“I expected to struggle less. More than anything else I found a very stiff bike compared to the basic setup and this made me struggle a lot. We explored different paths, but in the end we didn’t find anything really interesting. My best run compared to the others was the one made with used tyres. With that configuration I feel quite good, but I don’t get the best out of the new ones, I feel the bike too stiff on the bumps and I suffer a lot”.
Was the transition from road bike to MotoGP bike on this track very difficult?
“It’s nice to ride here with the MotoGP, but as always, you like the tracks when you go fast. At the moment I haven’t been fast, so I’m not enjoying it too much. But we have solutions for tomorrow. Today was a really difficult day.” .
Braking for the first corner in the race could create a complex situation. What do you think about that?
“The first braking is difficult in general. With the MotoGP bike you start braking just as you come over the hill. The braking profile is strange, it’s even similar to what it is in Austria in the first corner. In my opinion, at the first corner on Sunday we will see quite a few people who will take advantage of the concrete run-off area “.