Petrucci: Qualifying my weakness, today confirmed it

Danilo Petrucci endures an eventful qualifying session at Jerez, with his final placing some way below his potential over race distance.
Petrucci: Qualifying my weakness, today confirmed it

As if suffering a terrifying front-end moment at the Circuito de Jerez’s fearsome turn twelve wasn’t enough, Danilo Petrucci faced the ignominy of crashing after taking the chequered flag in another eventful MotoGP qualifying session for the Italian.

The 28-year old felt his afternoon showing “confirmed” his weakness in the current qualifying format a day after he had pinned his hopes on securing a space on the first two rows of the grid.

By the end of the 15-minute shootout, Petrucci was seventh, just 0.034s back of Cal Crutchlow in sixth, with a “strong vibration” on his final flying leading to a less than optimum performance.

That contrasted to FP3, when the Italian smashed the outright circuit record to lead Marc Marquez in a dramatic morning session.

“I'm not sure what type of issue it was,” he said of his feeling during Q2. “There was quite a strong vibration on my last flying lap. Despite this I was able to arrive until turn ten with a small advantage, but in turn twelve - the very, very fast right - I felt this vibration stronger and my front closed. It was a scary moment.

‘Then I had another chance but unfortunately I went across the finish line in the same moment as the session ended. At the first corner I didn't know if I had taken the chequered flag or not, so I tried, but I crashed. The crash was a bad mistake but when I arrived back at the box they said, ‘You took the flag.’

“But anyway I'm happy for today for the pace. Sure I'm not happy about the result for qualifying, maybe I could start a few positions better. I will start more aggressive tomorrow to try and recover some positions and fight for the podium.

“It will be tough because there are many fast riders and especially I don't know how the tyres will be after 15 laps. Maybe only Marquez knows. He did a very strong run in FP4 with very used tyres.”

Petrucci was among three names cited by Valentino Rossi as having the best race pace for Sunday’s 25-lap affair (Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso were the others). To challenge those men, a flying start in a must.

“The problem is just this. I mean when you start from the 3rd row, you always have to do a good start but the main thing is you cannot have a real strategy. I mean there are not a few riders, there are at least 6 riders that you have to care about.

“So for sure stay away from danger and then tried to save the tyre for the end because I think the tyre will get quite a big drop, especially the rear. And then try to fight to stay on the podium.

“For sure yesterday I said qualifying was my weak point and today this was confirmed, but not 100-percent my fault but we have to recover like nothing happened. I mean I could do better in the first run.”