How would you feel if you were watching the most beautiful movie of your life and there’s a power cut just before the end? This is how Pramac Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci felt as he saw the dream of his first MotoGP victory vanish behind the exhaust pipe of Marc Marquez on the last lap of Misano’s race after having led for 21 of 28 laps.
Sadness and a bit of frustration showed on his honest and friendly face. At stake was his first MotoGP win and in front of his home crowd, but Petrucci stated that he had no regrets. He gave it all and was beaten by an extraordinary Marquez.
After podium finishes in Mugello and Assen, Petrux returned as a front-runner at Misano in front of the Italian crowd, orphaned by Valentino Rossi, who broke his leg a few days before the race.
Petrucci was already tasting the champagne during the 21 laps he was leading the race but the movie ended when Marquez passed him into turn one on the last lap and the Italian couldn’t fight back. Petrucci finished in front of the Ducati factory rider Andrea Dovizioso, who – with this result – leaves Misano with the same points as Honda’s Marquez.
BSN grabbed a chat with Petrucci after the race:
On the podium you seemed more angry than happy for this second place…
“I believed I could win during 21 long laps I was leading, so in the end it was frustrating. It was sad. Don’t get me wrong. A second place is a good result and I did all I could so I have no regrets. I was beaten by a five–time world champion, but winning in front of the Italian fans would have been special.”
Did you expect Marc to attack you on the last lap?
“He is too smart to pass me earlier because it would have meant to take more risks staying in front. But I knew he would have to try and pass me at the end. I heard him coming closer atturn one of the last lap. I couldn’t do it in a different way. I kept on pushing but every time he was too far to re-attack. “
Were you controlling the race or were you on the limit?
“I was not pushing hard every lap, because I didn’t want to make mistake and throw away a wonderful result. But it was very difficult to lead and make the rhythm knowing that Marc was behind me. I hoped he would have been more careful and conservative, thinking of the championship, but it was not like this. He took incredible risks and he did his fastest lap on his final lap. I couldn’t do more than what I did.
“Anyway, it is impossible not to take risks when you try to attack at 280km/h on ten centimetres of water. It was a hard race. After Jorge’s crash, I took the lead on lap seven and remained in front till the penultimate lap. It was not easy to do the rhythm and push hard. The feeling also changed during the race. I felt more comfortable at the beginning with more water. I’m heavier than Marc and these extra kilos helped me in the corner exit. If it kept on raining hard, I think it would have benefited me. But slowly, slowly the line was drying and this may have helped Marc to regain confidence after the crash in the warm up. With more water, I would have had more chances, but with ‘If’ you don’t win.”
Have you thought about letting Andrea Dovizioso pass to help him in the title chase?
“I always said I want to help Dovi and honestly yes, during the race I hoped he was closer, and I would defend him and be part of Dovizioso’s win. To not to let him pass, this is not fair. Do you know how many critics this could arise? I wanted to win and I tried till the last braking, but Marc was too far ahead.”
What was missing?
“I’m not too far from Dovizioso in terms of speed, often I’m even faster, but I miss a bit to manage well the tyres. This year there is not such a big difference between Honda, Ducati and Yamaha. The big difference is the rider who is more able to manage the tyres till the end.”
Do you think that Dovizioso would have taken more risks if he wants to fight for the title?
“I think he took the right decision. We didn’t have the situation under control and we saw so many crashes today. More than half grid in Moto3 and Moto2. It was so easy to crash. He did well, it was up Marc to be exceptional.”
Two podium finishes in Italy this year, is the extra motivation from the fans?
“I don’t know if the home air or the tyres. I was competitive from FP1, on top of the time sheet on FP2. I didn’t feel well on Saturday so we couldn’t work too much on the bike set up but for sure the support of the people help.”