Factory Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci was extremely apologetic to his team-mate Andrea Dovizioso despite winning the first MotoGP race of his career in front of his and Ducati’s home fans in Mugello.
The Italian was involved in a battle with both Dovizioso and Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez until the final corner. Petrucci took the lead at the first corner of the final lap in a firm move in which he almost touched Dovizioso, forcing him wide and all but wrecking his chances of a home win.
Petrucci was devastated, but explained that now his target of securing the first MotoGP win is in the bag, he can help Dovizioso in his hunt for a first MotoGP World Championship.
“It’s really great, I still haven’t realised that I won my first race here,” explained Petrucci when describing the emotions he felt in the race.
“Today I woke up in a good condition but said it’s very, very hot. During the past days after four of five laps I always feel very, very tired. But the race started and there was a lot of people trying to say at the front, so I said the rhythm is not so high, I tried to stay in front and keep out of the risk.
“After some laps I was able to take the lead and then I said now I ride in my possibility. I will try to save my energy and the tyres for the final five laps. Then I say with maybe five laps to go, I say maybe three.
“Then I said, maybe in the last lap someone will try to pass me, and I was right. I brake hard in and I knew that Marc and Andrea would try to pass me in the first corner using the slipstream. When I saw Marc and Dovi pass me, I said ‘no, another time, leading all the race and I will finish third, maybe fourth’.
“But then they ran a little bit wide, I just found a little space and I went in. I’m so sorry that Andrea had to sit up the bike, but I knew that today I had a great chance to reach my first victory. Then on the last lap I tried to push and I go into the last corner, and when I go out in fourth gear I said if, I have to follow in the story of my life I will go out from first position and I will finish in third. I put fourth gear, fifth gear and I wait for Marc and Dovi and in this moment I press the sixth and cross the finish line.
“I want to dedicate this victory to Andrea who adopt me think weekend like a child, well brother – a very, very big child – but this was unbelievable for a new team mate. We have two different targets this year. I’m so sorry that he lost some points today, but I wanted to win the race today.
“Since the beginning of the season, we have two different targets. Mine was to win my first race, now we need to reach the target of Andrea. I will do everything to do this target. I’m so sorry for sure, I think both Marc and Andrea could win today, but racing is always on the limit and this time was my time. I think I had a big opportunity. Next time I will think about the championship.
“I’m really happy for sure. Now we have to think to the target of this year, but I want to say thanks to Ducati and my family.”
This weekend was vindication to Petrucci after so many told him to quit, leaving the Italian pondering his future at more than one occasion. Petrucci explained that it was his team-mate who helped him believe he could win races, which would somewhat explain his remorse for taking the win away from Dovizioso.
“I was told many times in my past to quit my career, as it’s not my work,” he said.
“At the beginning of this year I said I will try this year, I have no contract for next season. So I put some pressure on myself and after the first three races the results have not been so good.
“This was another time Andrea helped me in this period, telling me don’t think about the future, think about now. Try to enjoy what you’re doing. Focus on your strong points, work hard and from Jerez I just started to think I will do my best for this year, and if it’s enough that’s okay.
“And if I cannot win with this bike, I am not able to win on any bike. Today I won and maybe I will change my programme for the future.”