Petrucci: They don't have to do square corners like us…

'[Suzuki] makes more kilometres around the track but they are faster, because they don't have to do 'square' corners like us' - Danilo Petrucci, Dutch MotoGP.
Petrucci: They don't have to do square corners like us…

The Ducati and Suzuki are two of the most contrasting machines on the MotoGP grid.

While the Desmosedici is famed for its stop-and-go performance, the Italian factory has long battled with turning difficulties.

Meanwhile, the smooth and nimble GSX-RR probably has the best cornering speed of any machine, but loses out on top speed and braking.

Those characteristics made for an interesting Assen contest as the factory Ducatis of Danilo Petrucci and Andrea Dovizioso took on Suzuki's Joan Mir, the trio spending most of the race fighting over fourth place.

Referring to the wide, sweeping lines of the GSX-RR compared to the hard-braking and acceleration of the Desmosedici, Petrucci explained why a change in grip at Assen hurt Ducati more than the corner-speed machines:

"The problem is that I think [the Suzuki] makes more kilometres around the track but they are faster, because they don't have to do 'square' corners like us.

"When we can brake hard and go into the inside of the corner very early, it's okay for us. But we need a lot of support from the rear, a lot of grip and a lot of traction from the rear tyre.

"But this was not possible in the second part of the race and problem is that when we miss a lot of grip, the bike is not fast.

"For sure Mir has to learn a lot, but he is fast. He is a rookie and he could become a 'problem' when he learns to ride because they are very, very smooth in the corners.

"They [Suzuki] use all the track, and for us it's not possible.

"If we enter the corner very wide and try to find the apex at the last point, we miss the apex immediately. And it's difficult to fight with other guys that are very fast in the corner here, because there are no straights, no braking areas. So for us it was difficult.

"It was strange because with grip, like in the first three sessions of this weekend, I was always in the top three. I did the lap record on Saturday morning and rode one of the best bikes of my life.

"But since FP4, when the hot temperature came, the bike became very, very difficult to ride."

Fortunately for Petrucci and Dovizioso, who were on the hard rear tyre, even the smooth-handling of the Suzuki could not allow Mir to make the soft rear last the full distance and he lost pace in the closing laps.

But just as one rival dropped away, another arrived in the form of Franco Morbidelli.

Petrucci was being extra careful to avoid tangling with team-mate and title contender Dovizioso, but paid the price for his caution when the Petronas Yamaha struck at the very final turn, demoting him to sixth.

"I had good pace in the middle of the race, but the last ten laps were like a nightmare," Petrucci said.

"I was still able to gain some positions, to pass Mir, and we made a good fight with Andrea.

"Unfortunately, there was just one chance to try to pass him on the last lap. I decided not to go crazy, but that was not the right choice, because in the last corner, Morbidelli went on the inside and I lost one position.

"Fighting with your team-mate is always quite difficult and today I paid the consequences."

Petrucci, soon expected to be confirmed as staying at Ducati for 2020, has now moved ahead of Mir's team-mate Alex Rins (who fell from the lead) for third in the world championship behind Assen runner-up Marc Marquez (Honda) and Dovizioso.

But that was of little consolation.

"Yes, I'm third in the championship, but finishing 14-seconds from the lead is very, very far. So I don't have many reasons to smile today," said the Mugello winner, now the only rider in the top eight to have scored points in every race this season.

Yamaha and Suzuki (the only machines with inline rather than V4 engines) have won a single race each this season, with two victories for Ducati and four for Honda, all by Marquez.