Petrucci, from MotoGP to Dakar: “Now I’m smiling on the dunes”

Danilo with the factory KTM: “It’s a great adventure, so the farewell will weigh less on me”

Paolo Ianieri

He left the scene on tiptoe, and knowing him it was hard to expect otherwise. Because in ten years of MotoGP, Danilo Petrucci has proved to be one of the most special riders in the paddock, loved for his character, irony and quick joke, all too good for a world where to get ahead often you need to have a lot of hair on the stomach. But since when a door closes, sometimes a door opens, after saying goodbye to MotoGP, in a month Petrux will be at the start of the Dakar with the KTM. “This thing helps me to feel goodbye less, I move on to an equally great adventure, I don’t experience it as a book that ends, it’s a new beginning”.

Danilo, are you very sad?
“No, no. Maybe I will be in March, when I won’t see myself in the opening photo. But I will have so much to do … In the last period I wasn’t having fun on the bike anymore, I started to think that it wasn’t the case to continue doing something that didn’t make me feel good. To do well in MotoGP, today you need a very competitive bike and fewer pounds and centimeters. “

Was he screwed by the size?
“Yes. It takes a factory bike to win and stay in the front. The Ducati was very fast and in the end I could make up for that one-two tenths I lost from the other riders. This year the engine difference only on the straight was also of half a second, closing that gap was impossible. Especially in qualifying. “

He had gone to KTM with high expectations. Instead, the promises were not kept.
“Yes. In Tech3 the treatment had to be like in Pramac a few years ago, instead the developments all went to the factory riders. But, above all, the experience I could bring was not exploited, being the only one of the four riders to have I rode a different bike. The thing I regretted most was not being able to help them. Technically we had taken two different paths of understanding the work. “

Via her, away also her partner Iker Lecuona, sent to the fray last year to close a hole and then, when he was starting to make a result, kicked out.
“I am very sorry for Iker and I also told them. He is very young, he has talent but very little experience, but at the age of 21 his career in MotoGP is already over. I have seen myself quite in him, because he came from nothing and for the talent he has he didn’t deserve to be crushed like that “.

Darryn Binder arrives in MotoGP.
He laughs. “I hope he arrives slower than he did in Portugal at turn 3. In the middle of where there is a mess, he is there. The main problem, however, will be above all for him, when you crash with a MotoGP you remember it.”

Ten years. Is the glass …?
“I’m happy with what I did. In hindsight I could have won earlier, more, go more often on the podium. I realized one of my big dreams, to win, even if the biggest one was to win the World Championship. But the possibility I’ve never had it. At the engineering level I have often twisted the rules of physics, many engineers have struggled to explain how with a body like mine I could be fast. But this is also the beauty of racing, I am the man and the car together with doing things, and sometimes the driver can put in what the car doesn’t have “.

He said something very profound: “In this world I was loved, not respected”.
“You can’t be both. I was born in the MotoGP paddock, I’ve known everyone for more than 25 years. There are those who know me as Danilone’s son, then when I returned I was a MotoGP rider. I worked with many. people and with all of them I remained in very good relations, and when it came to taking on responsibilities, I always took them on. I never raised my voice to defend myself and this sometimes led to putting my feet on my head “.

Is it the greatest virtue and the greatest flaw?
“When you hear ‘Danilo is too good’ the line is faint, it depends on the intonation you use. And in this case your best value becomes the biggest flaw. I think, too many times I have been too good. With friends it’s fine. , but who you work with is not a virtue “.

Between Misano and Portimao, in Dubai he had his first taste of rally raids.
“It’s totally another world. The second day of testing I was alone, on the best bike of the best team in the Dakar and a desert all to myself. I slipped into the dunes, it was early in the morning and there was no one, I my eyes shining to think where I was. I was excited, because these are the things that make you feel alive “.

A few years ago, you kept a column in the Gazzetta, Peter said. He’s unemployed next year …
“I’ll gladly do it again”.

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Petrucci, from MotoGP to Dakar: “Now I’m smiling on the dunes”

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