Like­able Ital­ian gives Du­cati cause for cel­e­bra­tion by beat­ing Rossi to third step of the podium

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport - MO­TOGP RE­PORTER IN ITALY si­mon.pat­ter­son@mo­tor­cy­cle­

Danilo Petrucci rode the race of his life at his home round in Mugello to take the sec­ond podium of his Mo­togp ca­reer with a stunning per­for­mance that saw him hold off close friend Valentino Rossi for third.

Mak­ing the most both of his knowl­edge of the Tus­can cir­cuit and the huge horse­power of his full-fac­tory 2017-spec Des­mosedici GP17 ma­chine, the 26-year-old hunted down not only Rossi but both Mav­er­ick Viñales and An­drea Dovizioso in his bid for vic­tory be­fore set­tling for third at the flag.

The Ital­ian is one of the paddock’s most like­able and re­laxed char­ac­ters and re­vealed that he was blown away by the emo­tion of what he’d man­aged to achieve both for the Pra­mac Du­cati team and for him­self.

He said: “It’s in­cred­i­ble. If any­one had asked me be­fore­hand what I would have given to get on the podium at Mugello, I would have hap­pily sold my house! It’s quite in­cred­i­ble af­ter a very strange week­end – I crashed on my first lap out of the box on Satur­day! Then I did a very good lap time in qual­i­fy­ing, went onto the kerb, and lost my lap time and had to start in ninth.

“I knew I had to stay with the other guys at the front, and when I was fourth I told my­self ‘you’re fourth, wait un­til the last lap and see what hap­pens’ – but then af­ter a moment I thought ‘it’s your home race, go for it!’ I tried with Dovi too, but it wasn’t so easy, and I fin­ished my rear tyre try­ing to stay with him. But I man­aged to stay on the podium and it was a great day for me. In 2012, I started my first home GP from last po­si­tion, and in five years there has been quite a big change!”

Mak­ing the day even bet­ter was that while Petrucci had shown he could be fast at the home of Du­cati in qual­i­fy­ing, he ad­mit­ted that do­ing one fast lap and do­ing 23 of them are dif­fer­ent things.

“Af­ter Jerez, the boss of Pra­mac told me ‘OK to­day you did a good race, but you have to get me a nice present in Mugello.’ I asked him where he ex­pected me to buy it, be­fore I dis­cov­ered you couldn’t buy a podium and that I’d have to fin­ish in the front three!

‘I would hap­pily have sold my house to get on the podium! DANILO PETRUCCI

“But our fac­tory is 45 min­utes from here, our work­shop is an hour away and I live two hours away. There was a lot of pres­sure and I had to man­age that all week­end. I am sorry that I beat Valentino, be­cause he’s my friend, but rac­ing is rac­ing! If I could have won the race I would, but Dovi was stronger.”

d 3r 1st: Dovi 41m 32.126s I PETRUCC +2.334s 6th: Mar­quez +5.885s

Cham­pagne or tears? Ei­ther way it was an emo­tional re­sult Petrucci puts Lorenzo in his place at Mugello

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