Qatar MotoGP test: Petrucci looking for balance after KTM debut with Tech 3

| | MotoGP

Tech3 KTM’s Danilo Petrucci made his debut alongside teammate Iker Lecuona today as the French-based satellite team launched it’s 2021 campaign in Qatar.

Following a long winter break, the Losail International Circuit saw the first track activity of 2021 amidst windy conditions with both Lecuona and Petrucci starting to shake off some winter rust to get up to speed with their RC16’s.

Riding in orange for the first time, a “very very happy” Danilo Petrucci concluded the day having completed 60 laps on his debut with KTM, just 0.069 seconds behind his teammate, albeit 2.3 seconds off the top spot, in 23rd place.

“In the last few months I just couldn’t imagine the first corner, all the emotion I will have, but I’m really, really happy to start this new adventure” the Italian expressed before he took to the track for the first time.

“I have to feel good on the bike. Finding the position is the first thing and then we have just to get used to the bike, to the team, everything is new for me. It’s the first time that I’m on a non-Italian team so will be exciting, everyone is very, very friendly and I like it a lot.”

Returning to the garage at the close of play, the pragmatic Italian continued “I’m really happy to have complete this first day. It was important. Although of course the main thing is to get used to the bike and find a good base setup.

“We tried a lot of things, some worked, some didn’t. For KTM and for the team it’s the first time having a rider with my size, so we have to find a decent balance. In general, I like the RC16 a lot! The engine is very smooth and I enjoyed riding. We know it’s a long process, but I think we are already on the right path. It’s just day one. Fortunately, we have another four days and some ideas, so I’m already looking forward to tomorrow.”

No stranger to a tough winter training regime, the 30-year-old also explained how he had been preparing for his new 2021 challenge.

“At the end of last year I went to Sardinia for a rally and I enjoy a lot. First time with a bike with navigation, finding the road, it was a good thing. Then I stop a bit in December to recover all the problems I had on the neck, on the shoulder, fixing everything and not going on the bike. In the last two months, January and February I was very, very busy training, physiotherapy, everything. For sure, one thing I noticed was when I was younger I just need two hours to stay fit, now I need more or less all the day, between warm-ups, stretching, exercises for the shoulder, for the neck, proper training, then cool down, physiotherapies, osteopaths, I’ve been very very busy! The 24-hour quarantine was good to take a rest day, I enjoyed the quarantine in the room!”

Lecuona, commencing his second year with the Tech3 outfit, ran a total of 55 laps throughout Saturday, as the 21-year-old Spaniard made his comeback after he was forced to sit out the final three rounds of 2020 due to Coronavirus restrictions.

“I’m happy, because I was finally jumping back on the bike today after a long time. It felt a bit strange in the beginning, because I was training a lot during the winter, but the MotoGP machine is obviously completely different to what I am practicing with at home. Physically it’s very demanding, but I’m satisfied. I was working a lot on myself. Today we didn’t change a lot on the base setting, apart from the final runs, where we were working on the bike a little bit. Overall, I’m glad about today. We still have four days to test here, so we keep calm and continue working.”