Danilo Petrucci sees ‘big opportunity’ amid battle for his Ducati seat

Danilo Petrucci wants to prove he deserves to retain his factory Ducati ride this season amid competition for his seat in 2021

Danilo Petrucci, Andrea Dovizioso, Marc Marquez, Jack Miller, field, start, group

Danilo Petrucci admits he has to make the most of his ‘big opportunity’ on the factory Ducati ahead of the 2020 MotoGP World Championship as competition mounts for his ride from both inside and outside the team.

The Italian replaced Jorge Lorenzo in the works squad in 2019 and became MotoGP’s newest race winner when he swept to an emotional victory on both his and Ducati’s home soil at Mugello.

That success ultimately secured him a second season in the team but preceded a slump in form during the second half of the year that almost saw him overhauled by Jack Miller on the satellite Pramac Ducati.

Managing a best finish of just seventh during the latter stages of the season, Petrucci admits he lost confidence when his results began to fall away. However, he is certain he can get back to his podium-scoring performances from the start of 2020

“I just have another big opportunity to show, especially to myself, what I can do this year,” he told Crash.net.  "Last year for me was a hard year, also a good year for sure. I didn’t like the way it finished but I learned a lot of things and have more experience.

“The beginning of the year was very good. I managed the pressure in a good way. Then I maybe did some mistakes, but I only recognised the mistakes now and when I was in the middle of the championship I didn’t understand where I can be better."

"I joined MotoGP in 2012 and every year since I've improved my position at the end of the championship, I improved my results, so the target is to be even better for this year.”

Pressure on Danilo Petrucci as Ducati ups MotoGP commitment

Petrucci comes into the 2020 season knowing he needs to prove himself against some tough competition from within his own fold as Ducati ups its commitment to run four current spec GP20 machines for the first time.

Though his Mugello win earned him a stay of execution in the factory team, he was nonetheless being regularly out-qualified and out-raced by Miller come the end of the season. The pair will no doubt be pitched directly against each other in 2020 too, not to mention Pecco Bagnaia who gets his hands on the latest Ducati this year too

Moreover, Johann Zarco has designs on a factory seat provided he performs well on the year-old Avintia bike, while Gigi Dall’Igna has previously admitted to a roving eye elsewhere on the grid for 2021 given almost every rider on the grid will be up for contract renewal this year. Of these, Fabio Quartararo are considered the most likely targets, though another potential threat - Maverick Vinales - has confirmed a new Yamaha deal for 2021 and 2022.