Who knows what could have happened had that red flag not gone out midway through the Assen GP. The race needed to be stopped, it looked beyond dangerous, but I cannot help but be curious as to how it would have finished up had the race continued.
Petrucci was in with a chance of winning his first MotoGP
Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci had just fought his way to the front. He was leading, the third independent rider to take the lead so far in the race. The rain had definitely thrown a spanner in the works; possibly making it a much more level playing field among the factory and independent riders.
The Italian, who has recently returned to the championship series after damaging his hand in a crash before the season opener in Qatar, had barely led for one lap when the red flag was put out to stop the race.
Petrucci was very strong all weekend, his worst result coming during qualifying when the best he could secure was tenth on the grid. But he stood out in the wet; he made his way up the field, plucking off factory riders one by one until he was behind Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team).
Petrucci attacked, he gave Rossi a taste of what he was capable of, what he was willing to do. This spurred Rossi on and he made a lunge at Dovizioso but Petrucci soon got past; all of this took place whilst Rossi’s red warning light at the rear of his bike was not on.
Strong team effort from the Octo Pramac Yakhnich boys
Rossi was not Petrucci’s problem anymore though as his teammate Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati) was on his case instead. This meant Petrucci could focus on Dovizioso. Twelve laps remained when he made his move; the independent Ducati rider overtook the factory Ducati with ease. But he only led for a few corners when it was race over… it had to be stopped.
Standard procedure is to use the results from the last full lap to determine the grid positions for the restart. For Petrucci, this was second not first but he was still within a chance because he would be on the front row. The second race did not last long for the Italian as unfortunately he was forced to retire out of the 12 lap race with 11 still remaining… it was game over for Petrucci.
The red flag spoiled Petrucci’s chances of winning
Petrucci was “very disappointed” to collect his DNF, he felt they “went very fast throughout the weekend” and that “the team did a superb job”. Before the race he was “convinced” that he will be among the top finisher “even in dry conditions”.
Despite the rain he said he “felt good in the race” as he thought that “everything was going the right way”. The Italian said, “I was very motivated because I felt that this was the right time to bring home the victory.” The last time he made it onto the MotoGP podium was in Silverstone last year when he finished second behind Rossi.
Talking about what went wrong he said, “I saw the dash go off and I thought even that would hinder me, but the engine stalled.” The Italian said, “Unfortunately that problem has ruined everything.” He felt “disappointed” after the race but said he was “also aware that we have done an extraordinary job”; something I can definitely agree with. He remains undefeated saying, “I would have deserved this win but I am sure we will have other opportunities, starting from Germany!”
One day Danilo... one day!
The next round of the MotoGP is set to take place on the 17th July at the Saschenring, Germany.