What a Sunday it was for Mission Winnow Ducati and Danilo Petrucci. The lovable Italian brought tears to the eyes of plenty of the paddock – as well as shedding a few of his own – as he claimed a remarkable first MotoGP™ victory – and it couldn’t have come at a better time. In Ducati’s back yard and at his home Grand Prix, this result surely now puts Petrucci in the driving seat to keep his factory ride alongside current teammate Andrea Dovizioso in 2020.
But now, Petrucci faces a challenge. 2017 Mugello winner Dovizioso went on to win the Catalan GP to record back-to-back victories for the Bologna factory a couple of campaigns ago. Last season, Jorge Lorenzo backed his stunning Italian GP win with a flawless display in Barcelona. Will it be double delight for ‘Petrux’ in less than two weeks’ time?
Well, it’s a circuit Petrucci doesn’t boast a particularly good record at. His best finish in Barcelona is P8 last season, where he finished as the next best Desmosedici rider behind race winner Lorenzo. Before that, two P9s in 2015 and 2016 were his only top ten results.
But previous results can now be thrown out the window. Petrucci will be booming with confidence after his Mugello masterclass and with him riding better than he ever has, with a bike underneath him that is working a treat, who’s to say the 28-year-old can’t continue Ducati’s love story with Mugello and the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya?
What’s more, another win would mean we surely have to consider the number 9 Ducati as a title threat. Depending on where Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), Dovizioso and Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins finish, the 33-point gap to Championship leader Marquez, 21 to his teammate and six to Rins could see drastic changes.
No pressure then, Danilo. Not that he’ll feel any after a massive weight was lifted off his shoulders on Sunday.