Petrucci: Barcelona podium “like a win”

Mission Winnow Ducati rider made it three rostrums on the bounce with a P3 at the Catalan GP

Danilo Petrucci’s (Mission Winnow Ducati) 2019 MotoGP™ campaign continues to go from strength to strength after the Italian was able to secure his third consecutive podium finish of the season.

Petrucci - albeit with a little help from a four-rider crash on Lap 2 – would take the chequered flag in P3 at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, which tops his overall premier class podium tally up to nine and edges him closer to both teammate Andrea Dovizioso and fourth place finisher Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) in the Championship. Just five points now separate ‘Petrux’ from Dovi after the latter was one of the victims of the Turn 10, Lap 2 crash.

“Yeah yeah, very very hot. Very hot day. Today, before the race, I was in my office on the sofa I say to myself, because sometimes when you say something to it brings bad luck, at least in Italy we think this,” began Petrucci, who goes on to explain the crash that saw him go from fifth to second in a matter of seconds.

“Today a podium finish is like a victory for us – and we made it. The start of the race was good, battling with some other riders. I saw Lorenzo being really aggressive, also on me, but then on Lap 2 or 3, I don’t remember, at Turn 10 I brake really really hard. In the same moment Lorenzo braked too but he was in front of me and he carried the speed into the corner, and also in the same moment Rossi passed me, and they hit Maverick and Dovi.

“I haven’t reviewed the incident but anyway, four riders crashed. I was second, I think a second and a half from Marc, I said ok, try to follow Marc but I had to save my tyre because I had Alex and Fabio behind me. I thought Alex was one of the favourites for the win so I said maybe now he will attack me, and he did. Really really hard. I have some of his rubber. But when he was in front I saw him in trouble with the rear traction so I said ah, everybody is on the same boat, and I decided to attack him again.”

It was a proper ding-dong battle between Petrucci and Rins as the pair jostled it out P2. The two made contact at Turn 4 before Rins then nearly tagged the back of Petrucci’s GP19 at Turn 1 but in the end, it was a 20-year-old rookie who would beat both of them to the second step on the podium.

“But then I saw Fabio (Quartararo) coming through very very fast, he helped me to go away from the riders behind, but I couldn’t hold his pace. He was really smooth on the throttle, smooth on the tyres and the last five laps I said ok, a second is good but also a third is not bad. Finishing third is a great, great race for us.

“My mechanic said ‘you don’t know what the big risk for you was’”, commented Petrucci about Rins almost crashing into him. “I said ‘why, what’s going on?’ If you saw Rins he passed you by an inch and yeah I braked really really hard at the first corner because it was a braking area where he can pass me. He passed me many times there but I brake hard and he always goes wide. So I braked really hard, he did the same and he almost touched me.”

Luckily, the two didn’t crash and it was Petrucci who prevailed. 16 more points pocketed, a comfortable fourth in the Championship and another podium – you could say it was a successful weekend for the number 09 factory Ducati. Assen is next up, a track the charismatic Italian got a podium at in 2017.

“Assen is one of my favourite circuits, I already scored a podium, almost winning in 2017. I really want to repeat that feeling and make it four (podiums in a row).”

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