I cannot help but feel sorry for Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci. He didn’t half work hard over the weekend of the GoPro Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland at the Sachsenring. Unfortunately for the Italian, a chain of unlucky events occurred eventually ruling him out of the race he led for a third of.
Amazing start to the weekend
His work was cut out for him as despite being strong during Free Practices, he failed to finish in the top ten during FP3, this meant he had to finish in the top two of qualifying one in order to be within contention of starting the race from one of the first four rows on the grid.
He did just that topping the timesheet ahead of Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha), the two progressed through to Q2 where Petrucci managed to qualify fourth on the grid.
Sensational start from Petrucci
Petrucci got an amazing start, Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez led into the first corner, Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha) soon overtook him but then it was not long before Petrucci got them both and then he took on factory Ducati rider Andrea Dovizoso to take the lead in the wet; not only that, but the independent team rider was the lead Ducati.
He led for ten laps as he showed his strength in the harsh conditions as rain had fell most of the morning. The weather eased during the race though and the track began to dry which meant strategies had to be put in place as to when to change to new tyres and which tyres to choose (intermediates or slicks). But he didn’t get that far as the front of his Desmosedici tucked under on turn three.
Things went from bad to worse for the Italian
Luckily he was unhurt and was able to pick up his bike and return to the pits aboard it, only things went from bad to worse as flames were seen coming out of the bottom of his fairing. Still he continued on back to the pits where he swapped bikes and his team extinguished the flames from his first bike; there was no way they could have that fixed in time should he need to switch bikes again. Petrucci left the pits on the second bike set up with slicks, but he failed to finish the ninth round of the MotoGP season.
Petrucci pleased with his performance despite collecting DNF
Reflecting on the race Petrucci said, “It was great to be in front!” He confirmed they had “chosen to use the front hard tyre”, a choice he stood by because “after a few laps the track began to dry”. He knew he was “the only one the group” at the front “with that rubber” and he felt that “Marquez and Redding who had done the same choice were struggling”.
Petrucci said he was “trying to handle” the tyre well considering he felt he had “already taken a big risk”. This is when disaster struck and “the front closed without any warnings”. Petrucci said, “I am very sorry for the team who did an awesome job.”
Had things been different Petrucci said, “We were fast even in the dry and I would have like to run in these conditions.” Remaining optimistic he said, “I must say that we come out of this weekend with great confidence.” He feels that he and his team “are on track” and that they “have to continue like this”.