Factory Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci said that his poor qualifying performance cost him a chance at finishing in the top five at the British MotoGP at Silverstone.
Coming home in seventh place, Petrucci was a victim of the first corner crash involving Fabio Quartararo and his factory Ducati team-mate Andrea Dovizioso. Losing positions early, the Italian battled through late, posting some blisteringly quick lap times towards the end of the race.
“The problem is when I start in the middle of the grid, it’s tricky enough to remain on the first corner, there was a big accident and I lost four positions on the first lap,” explained Petrucci.
“I had to recover a lot of places. Then when I had free track in front of me, I was able to do a good pace, the potential was to be in the top five, but I was too far. But then I am happy because at the end I was fast. I was able to recover a lot of positions.
“I am really sorry for my team-mate, I hope he is okay.
“But I am happy, because at the end I was fast, but I have to work on qualifying. In the morning on Saturday I am always fast, but in the afternoon, I struggle a lot, but if I don’t start in the first two rows, for me it’s always difficult to stay with the top five.”
Petrucci went on to explain that the issue of posting fast times in free-practice and not being able to convert those lap-times into good qualifying times is one that has plagued him all throughout 2019. When asked about it, he said: “It’s a problem since the beginning of the season.
“I don’t remember how many FP3 I lead this season, I remember in Jerez I did the lap record, in Assen I did the lap record, in Mugello too, but in the afternoon I wasn’t faster.
“Today, the start was good, but in the first corner, the two bikes crossed in front of me, and I had to close the throttle, and four riders passed. In this time, you have to understand the bike and the situation, you have to pass a lot of riders and that’s a mess.
“But like I said, the second part of the race, the pace was good to be in the top five, and I was to look at this in the test in Misano, we have some ideas. In the end I am happy, I lost some good points, but this is racing. When you start so back in the grid it can happen.”
Petrucci and his factory Ducati team will now head to Misano for a test, ahead of the Grand Prix there, a few weeks later. Petrucci didn’t specify what he was going to test whilst there, but did say that during the second half of today’s race, they identified some areas to target.
“First of all I have to look because the second part of the race was very useful for us because we understood what we miss,” he said.
“At the end, I have to use my extra weight to have some more practice, because the problem is in qualifying yesterday and the first part of the race, I got so much traction on the rear, that the front was very, very light, so there was less stability.
“But then when the grip goes down, I start to turn the bike with the rear, and I was able to ride in the 00’s and I did my best lap in the penultimate lap, and it was the fifth best lap of the race, so I happy about this. But I cannot be really happy because potentially I could’ve stayed in the top five.”