Petrucci back on form and the front row, says Ducati top speed is now its weakness
Danilo Petrucci was a welcome returnee to the top three post-qualifying media obligations after achieving a strong third place on the grid for the French MotoGP at Le Mans.
The Italian’s troubled 12-14 months with Ducati have been well documented after Petrucci’s form took an inexplicable nose dive almost immediately after claiming an emotional and hugely memorable maiden victory on home soil at Mugello in 2019.
However, there has been precious little to shout about since, with Petrucci only 14th in the overall standings clutching a best result of seventh in 2020.
“I am really happy because I knew I could have a good weekend here,” he said. “This morning on my FP3 runs I always found yellow flags. So I had to pass through Q1, but I felt good with the bike – I have always liked this track since I started in MotoGP. Usually we race in May and today is October, so I have had to wait a long time to be here.
“I am happy because since Barcelona I have found something interesting, especially under braking where I struggle the most this year.
“In Barcelona I lost a lot of time on the straights and in Le Mans there aren’t so many long straights. So I think it is a good thing to start on the front row because I can fight for the podium. Starting at the front you stay ahead of problems and manage the race.”
Asked to expand on why he singled out Le Mans’ lack of straights as being a good thing for a Ducati – normally celebrated for its superior top speed advantage – Petrucci instead reveals the team cannot keep up with its rivals in a straight line..
“Usually it is a strong point of Ducati, but we noticed since Red Bull Ring – where I was losing time on the straights – it was a problem, because I was doing well under braking but in Barcelona there was a problem. We don’t understand why but my weight for sure is higher, but is same as last season and it was one of our stronger points.
“In Barcelona last year I could defend from Fabio and Alex Rins, but this year I had a lot of people passing me. We don’t understand why, the aero has changed a bit, but for sure it’s one of the weaker points of this year [now].”
Petrucci will switch to the Tech 3 KTM team for the 2021 MotoGP World Championship.