Petrucci ‘happy with points, unhappy with distance’

Danilo Petrucci is relieved to rescue a top six finish after finding himself “in trouble” on Friday; “I'm unhappy about the distance, the gap between me and the first riders.”
Petrucci ‘happy with points, unhappy with distance’

Danilo Petrucci admitted to feeling mixed emotions in the wake of the Grand Prix of the Americas in Texas, where he scored a third consecutive top six finish in the opening to his first season with the factory Ducati squad.

As he experienced in Argentina, the 28-year old Italian had a tough start to the weekend, ending Friday afternoon in FP2. That considered, he was relieved to collect six points for sixth place.

It was, however, the gap to race winner Alex Rins – 21 seconds – that was of concern. “I cannot be happy with this race,” said the Italian, who failed to find a comfortable feeling with the front end of his GP19 over the Circuit of the Americas’ considerable bumps.

“On one side I'm happy about the points we scored at the end but I'm unhappy about the distance, the gap between me and the first riders,” said Petrucci.

“For sure the beginning was not easy, because there was some mess at the first corner, then I lost two positions and to pass Espargaro and Quartararo, I didn’t want to push a lot on the tyre.

“But then when I passed them I was able to do a good pace, but then after half of the race when there were five laps to go I start to lose sometimes the front.

“I was coming closer to [Franco] Morbidelli but was too much distance and especially I didn’t have a good feeling with the front tyre so I said, ‘A sixth place is OK.’ Friday I was 13th in FP2 with two soft tyres so we have been quite in trouble this weekend.

“But anyway I'm happy about the points because we are fifth in the championship. For sure it's only the third race but we have to keep working for the next races.

“For sure Jerez, Le Mans are better for us and I wait for them.”

Petrucci’s late attempts to catch Morbidelli nearly resulted in a costly fall. Having endured a number of front end savs

“Sincerely all weekend I haven’t had a good feeling on the front and when you ride the bike is not the perfect feeling. But then in the race, in the middle part I was gaining some times and my pace was good. Was in 2m 5shigh- 6s-low. Not so bad.

“But then I have two warnings and I said 'maybe three-four seconds to Morbidelli I cannot recover'. Especially because I nearly crash one time and I save really bad this because I thought I'd crash. So I said, OK, better ten points and keep the position in the championship.’

“For sure I cannot be happy about this race, but anyway I'm happy to recover a weekend that on Friday saw me in 13th position with two soft tyres. So I'm happy about that.”

Petrucci spent some time behind Pol Espargaro’s KTM in the opening laps. Asked for his assessment on the Catalan and his RC16, the Italian offered, “Pol is riding so well. He got a good starting position and then they got also a good engine so it was difficult to pass him.

“But anyway I lost some time because I could pass him a little bit earlier but I didn’t want to do like in the other races where I pushed too much in the beginning for make some pass and then at the end I have no tyre. At least I was able to score some points.”