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Petrucci: ‘Scoring a point is like a podium’

Petrucci: ‘Scoring a point is like a podium’

At Assen Octo IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci took part in his first race since Argentina in April and was delighted to make a point-scoring return.

Indeed having suffered a DNF at Termas de Rio Hondo, followed by a crash in Warm Up at Jerez which kept him out of action for several weeks due to a left wrist fracture, coming back in the Netherlands to immediately score a point in difficult conditions was a notable achievement for the Italian. caught up with Petrucci this week to get his thoughts on returning to Grand Prix racing…

It was a complicated race on Saturday but you managed to come back from injury and ride well despite stalling at the start. How did it go from your perspective?

“I didn’t know exactly what to expect from Assen, as it was a long time since I had ridden because of the wrist. Unfortunately at the start of the race I didn’t have enough feeling in the hand because of the painkillers and when I went to pull the clutch the bike stalled. I had a moment of panic because I had two rows of riders behind me and the safety car. I immediately put the bike into neutral and luckily my mechanic was there at the wall, so he jumped over and helped me start. Unfortunately though I had lost over 20 seconds by then though.”

But you still managed to catch up with some of the riders ahead of you…

“In reality it was a minor miracle! I had rain tyres on with the track half wet and half dry, but I’ve always enjoyed those conditions. I was making up more than five seconds a lap to the riders who were in front of me, Pol Espargaro riding a MotoGP bike, Scott Redding and Karel Abraham with the Open and all the others who hadn’t had problems at the start. During the first laps I was on the same pace as (Dani) Pedrosa. Then when we changed the bike, I found myself behind (Jorge) Lorenzo and I couldn’t believe it!”

“After a few laps though the wrist began to ache and towards the end of the race Abraham overtook me, but by then I felt pain all over my body, even in my back. It was a hectic race and I enjoyed it a lot.”

Overall how are you recovering from the injury?

“Unfortunately since the screws were taken out the wrist has not made much progress. In that area there is the largest concentration of bones in the body, the ligaments hold them together and for a rider, we depend on our hands significantly, so it's really hard! I can’t do any kind of training, any kind of exercise, which strains the hand. I still feel a lot of pain, so I am afraid will it take quite some time.”

How was the bike after four rounds away and what are the next steps?

Aprilia have been working hard, first with (Michel) Fabrizio, then with the test which (Alex) Hofmann did. This week Biaggi is testing at Mugello we know he will definitely give some key feedback. I wanted to test too, but after Assen I had quite a bit of swelling in the wrist. The guys are doing a great job, we are still missing a little something to match Honda, and with me missing an arm!”

“Seriously, the biggest point is adapting the bike to the Magneti Marelli control unit. We missed pre-season testing and during the races the pressure of the Grand Prix does not help. Of course we are happy with the Assen result, we rode well against our competitors and I hope to improve even further at Sachsenring.”

MotoGP, 2014, Danilo Petrucci, Octo IodaRacing Team

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