Petrucci: I'll help Dovi, he adopted me!

After meeting his debut victory target, Danilo Petrucci pledges to help Ducati team-mate Andrea Dovizioso in the MotoGP title fight against Marc Marquez.
Petrucci: I'll help Dovi, he adopted me!

Having achieved his victory target with a home win at the Italian MotoGP, Danilo Petrucci has pledged to help the title aspirations of Ducati team-mate Andrea Dovizioso - who 'adopted' him during the winter!

Petrucci overtook both Dovizioso and reigning champion Marc Marquez in a thrilling single move on the final lap at Mugello, going on to seal an emotional debut win by 0.043s over the Honda rider, with Dovi in third.

"Since the beginning of the season we have two different targets," Petrucci said. "Mine was to win my first race, then we have to reach the [title] target of Andrea. I will try to do everything for this target."

Petrucci apologised repeatedly for the close pass on Dovizioso at turn one of the last lap, but: "This time was my time. I think I had a big opportunity.

"Next time I will think about the championship. We’ll see. I think we are the best team in MotoGP, the points are saying this, so we can work together to be the best at the end of the year."

Ducati famously tried to employ team tactics to help Dovizioso in his title battle with Marquez at the end of 2017 via coded 'Suggested Mapping 8' messages to Jorge Lorenzo.

However, Dovi - runner-up to Marquez for the last two seasons and again his closest challenger in 2019 - has never been a fan of such direct on-track assistance.

So what kind of help would he like or expect Petrucci to provide?

"Nothing strange. I think the same as we did until now," Dovizioso replied. "If we can speak during the practice when we analyse tyres, set-up, if you follow some other riders… Everything you can understand from practice can always help you to manage every situation in a better way, I think."

Dovizioso 'took Petrucci under his wing' this winter, helping the #9 unlock his potential by mirroring the training methods and calm mental approach that has taken Dovi to the front of MotoGP.

"I believe that Andrea deserves part of the credit for this victory, as he was the first to highlight Danilo's potential and he took him under his wing, doing a really excellent job," said Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali.

Petrucci was certainly grateful: "I would like to dedicate my first victory to Andrea, who adopted me this winter like a child - I mean, like a brother! A very, very big child!

"This was an unbelievable thing for team-mates.

"We have two different targets this year and I’m so sorry that he lost some points today, but I wanted really truly to win the race," he repeated. "Now we have to think about the team target of this year."

The victory should also ensure that Petrucci remains at Ducati for 2020.

"Obviously winning a grand prix is an important achievement. We'll still wait for Barcelona and then discuss the future, but for sure Danilo has done a good job," said sporting director Paolo Ciabatti.

"I’m really happy about Danilo's win," Dovi said. " We worked together because I knew he has the potential, that’s why. He had to learn something, and he learned it.

"I think he improved this season because he believed more in himself and understood his potential, which in the past he didn’t really believe in and didn’t really analyse and realise his good points."

Dovizioso feels he has also benefited from the pair pushing each other in training.

"Every time we train together - flat track or motocross - we push each other. This puts us on the limit. We take risks, but it’s a part of our sport.

"I think it works because fortunately both of us we came from motocross, so we have this similar base. So in motocross we are quite fast. Flat track we are similar.

"So every time we try to beat each other, and this is good. Yes, the consequence is the risk, but I think it can help us both because he’s really talented. I think it’s really positive."

Marquez, who now leads Dovizioso by twelve points in the championship battle, also trains in a similar way.

"I train always with my brother, Alex. It’s true, like Andrea said, that you take more risk, but when you train alone it’s not the same. Also, it’s my fun time. It’s not my training; it’s my hobby," said the reigning five time MotoGP champion.

"It's not only me and my brother. We have three or four friends and we always ride at a very good level, like they [Dovizioso and Petrucci] do, and like Valentino does at the ranch.

"It’s the way to improve. Of course, there is a risk you can get injured, but that's life."

The next round is Marquez's home event in Catalunya. 

Ducati won last season with Jorge Lorenzo, who - like Petrucci - took his first win for the team at the previous Mugello round.