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Sunday in Mugello painted scenes the likes of which we haven’t seen for some time. The outpouring of emotion from Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) on the cool down lap, illustrated by his tears flowing from beneath his helmet, were pictures that touched the hearts of thousands, after the endearing Italian had earned his first premier class victory.
Thankfully the emotion didn’t end on-track, with the post-race Press Conference certainly prving to be the most moving of the season so far, and quite possibly one of the most soul-stirring MotoGP™ has witnessed in recent years.
The 28-year-old was applauded into the press conference room following his victory and, in what we have become accustom to with Petrux, he began to detail all of the emotions he felt in his own open and honest manner.
He would thank everybody from his teammate Andera Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati), his team and his family for the role they have all played in helping him get to the top step of the podium at long last in the MotoGP™ class.
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3 min mash-up: Italian GP post-race Press Conference
“I haven’t yet realised I’ve won my first race here”, said Petrucci, visibly overcome with elation. “I’m so sorry that Andrea had to sit up the bike, but it was my great chance for victory. When I exited the last corner, I thought if this is to follow the story of my life I’ll lead out of the last corner and finish third.
“But I went fourth gear, fifth gear and I was waiting for Marc and Dovi, then I hit sixth and, in that moment, I crossed the finish line and, well, as I said I haven’t realised it yet. I’d like to dedicate this, my first victory, to Andrea, my teammate, who adopted me this winter like a child, like a brother - a very, very big child!
“But this was unbelievable for two teammates. For sure, we have two different targets this year. I’m so sorry that he lost some points, but I really wanted to win the race. Now, we have to think about the team target for this year. But I want to say thanks to Ducati and my family.
“I said many times in the past I’d quit my career because I thought this wasn’t my world. Also, at the beginning of this year, I said ‘OK, I need to try this year as I have no contract for next season’, so I put some pressure on myself. After the first three races, with the results not that good, it was another time that Andrea has helped me. He told me not to think about the future but think about now, try to enjoy what you’re doing, focus on your strong points and work hard.
“From Jerez, I started to think I will do my best for this year and if it’s enough OK, if not, and I cannot win with this bike, then I’m not able to win with any bike, so it’s not my world. But today I won so maybe I will change my programme for the future. I’m so sorry about that pass, though, Andrea is the last person in the world I’d want to sit up.”
Finally, Petrucci had been suffering from flu all weekend so described how he mustered the energy to celebrate the win as wildly as he did: “After the finish line I started to scream, so I struggled more to do the slow down lap than the race. It was very heavy because I didn’t have any breath to scream. We now have to reach Andrea’s target and I will try to everything to make this happen. This time was my time, next time I’ll think about the championship.”
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