A look at the Misano track, but with the mind turned to the dunes of the Dakar. This must be what goes through the mind of Danilo Petrucci, who is preparing to face the last races of the season in MotoGP and then literally jump into the saddle of the KTMs born to win in the desert classic. A truly demanding challenge on paper, which marks a huge change for Danilo.
But before facing Dakar there are some races to be held on the track and it will be essential for Petrucci to try to reverse the course and return to fight at least in the top ten permanently. It serves to end a very long adventure in MotoGP that deserves the best possible ending. Danilo is aware of this and seems determined to write a few more beautiful pages in his history in the top class, before moving on to wearing helmets with visors and getting on motorcycles with knobby wheels. Meanwhile, a thought also goes to Tony Cairoli, a cross legend who decided to quit at the end of the year. Petrucci could attract many fans with his figure and make them discover the world of off road as never done before. A challenge that intrigues him.
But in Misano there will also be the great return of Dovizioso with Yamaha, which responds in some way to Vinales’ debut with Aprilia. Petrucci was asked who he would bet a euro on.
“A euro on Vinales or Dovizioso on Sunday? This is a really good question. I’d put it on Maverick now, because he has already ridden in Misano and has an experience race on April. These extra kilometers in the saddle make the difference. “
Going back to talking about your future and the Dakar, what do you think of Cairoli’s legacy. Somehow you are involved in it.
“This challenge stimulates me a lot also for this reason – Danilo confirmed – first of all I have to congratulate Tony Cairoli for his career and for what he has done. I wish him the best, really. I would like to give visibility to the off-road world with my figure. On a sporting level there has never been anyone who in less than two months made a MotoGP race and then the Dakar. The plan is to try to do it immediately as an experience and then decide from there on with KTM what to do. They are offering me to do a Dakar with all the commitment that it entails and it is no small matter, without ever having gotten on that bike. Let’s do this thing that will be a kind of great gift that I give to myself and that they give me and then let’s see what comes out and what we could do together “.
But for you, racing in MotoGP until the end of the season is fun, knowing that your future is elsewhere?
“For me it is different to arrive here after a long time and with all the experience I have on me. Really having fun with these bikes is not easy, because it is not about fun in the saddle, but rather about commitment and application. You can’t get on the track and say ‘ok, these are the last races I think and have fun’ because after two seconds per lap and there is nothing funny about it. You enjoy it when at the end of the race you went very fast and you can tell yourself that you simply did your best. Otherwise it is impossible. I want to finish this season in the best possible way, time is running out and there are few races to go. I have to give my all, trying to stay ahead and maybe take an opportunity if it comes. I want to finish in the best possible way and maybe get on the podium for one last time “.
Dovizioso is also back in the saddle at Misano. What do you think it can do?
“I’m happy to see Andrea back on a MotoGP. How he can go, I think it’s hard to imagine. Tomorrow I think it will be complex, because knowing everything there is to learn about a MotoGP, I find it difficult for him to take just a few sessions, which are even short: it is 45 minutes, but in reality you drive in Misano for 11 or 12 full laps each session. It is difficult to do everything well and then I know Andrea a little and even just in finding the right position on the saddle he is very meticulous and precise. He will have to overcome a few steps before he can be competitive. But then I also think that although it is not the same bike, in 2012 he went fast with a private M1. It will be tough, but he is a very intelligent rider and he will do well, maybe not immediately this Sunday, but he will learn soon and will be at the top. ”
Mum also comes back here in Misano, right?
“Mom’s here too. For two years we couldn’t bring anyone, but this time she’s there and she’s more excited than me.”
What are your goals for Misano?
“In the last few races we have found a good base set-up for me on the bike and I feel good in the saddle. Every time I know I can be fast, but every time we have to see how much my gap can be in the straight line in acceleration and in top speed. Last year the RC16 was strong here in Misano, so I would like to at least try to score points and stay as close as possible to the other KTM riders. Aragon was difficult for me, because the only point where I can recover is the braking but there I always found someone in front who slowed me down from this point of view. I was wasting my time and it was difficult. I also made a couple of mistakes, I had Miguel in front of me and I stayed with him. It may not have been his best race, but for me it is important to stay with the other KTMs. ”
This isn’t exactly your favorite track, but the rain might help you.
“Yes, Misano has never been one of my favorite tracks. A relationship of love and hate. Here I have always been strong in the rain, while in the dry I have never done much. Obviously for me it is the first time with the KTM, I don’t know what to expect. I’m worried about accelerations, but I’ve been feeling better on the bike for a few races and I want to try to make the most of this to have fun in these races until the end of the year. I don’t have the pace to win, but I’d like to be in the top ten. Maybe in October here, with a bit of cool, I’ll be able to do something else “.