A rider to watch: Danilo Petrucci
Date published : 22 Aug 2011 - 12:51:34
2011 is turning into an important year for Italian Danilo Petrucci's career. The Team Italia rider, who is taking part in the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup with the Ducati Barni Racing squad, is first and foremost back in contention for the title after scoring the first win in this particular category at Silverstone. At the moment "Petrux" is lying third in the table, behind leader Davide Giugliano (Ducati Althea Racing) and BMW Motorrad Italia charger Lorenzo Zanetti, just 21 points off the top slot. With four rounds remaining, it's now going to be an all-out battle between the top 3 and for this reason Petrucci intends to repeat the superb form he showed in the UK and go for the title.
In addition the man from Umbria in central Italy is also the test-rider for Ducati's new Superbike machine, the so-called Extreme 1200, the new model that in some way is slated to take the place of the victorious 1198 in the future. For Petrucci, being official test-rider for Ducati is a prestigious recognition given the success of former riders who form part of World Superbike history on twin-cylinder machines from Ducati. WorldSBK.com sat down for an exclusive post-Silverstone chat with Petrucci.
Your first career and season win came just at the right time and allowed you to close the gap to the leader and to overcome the issues you experienced during the previous races. How do you feel about it?
"I'm very happy to have won at Silverstone, I've been looking for a win for a long time. To be honest I came close to winning the race at Assen as well, but in that case Davide was very strong and at the same time I didn't want to throw away a good result. From Misano onwards I've been at the top in almost every practice and qualifying session, getting the pole position four times in a row - and setting the new lap record every time. Unfortunately during each race something happened: a brake pump issue at Misano, a broken clutch and third gear on the first lap at Aragon and a crash while I was pulling away at Brno."
Was the aggressive attitude you showed during the race a sign that the only useful result was a win?
"After Brno we were quite frustrated, because that was a good chance to bounce back into contention for the title. Giugliano had been consistently strong and even when he didn't get the win he still finished on the podium. At that point I told myself to start focusing exclusively on performing well in each race - in order to show I was capable of winning - and so I did. We have to continue that way, we're not that far anymore and I truly believe we can play a part in the battle for the title."
What is going to be your approach to the remaining rounds then?
"I intend to take every race like the last one, because any strategy would be useless considering the level of the top riders. Giugliano, Zanetti, Barrier and Canepa are always up there, but we showed we can make a difference - the 4 consecutive pole positions are a fine example of this. At the end of the season we'll know who's been the best rider, but personally I'd like to get to the last round with the title still in contention."
How do you feel about being the official Ducati Extreme 1200 test-rider?
"To be chosen as the official Ducati Extreme 1200 test-rider was one of the best pieces of news of my entire life. They were looking for a fast, well-trained and sensitive rider, but I never thought they would have picked me, also because the only experience I had on a Superbike was in the 2010 Italian Championship season with the Pedercini Team. However Ernesto Marinelli believed in me and still does, so I'm going to test the bike again, from September until the end of the year. The opportunity to work with a team that's won so much - with Fogarty, Corser, Bayliss, Hodgson and Toseland - represents a good benchmark, and being the first tester of the new bike has somehow placed me in the history of the brand. It's hard work though, I can ride up to 500km during a single day at Mugello, and if you think that usually it's a 3 day test... it's like a marathon, I can't be slow anytime as we have to get the best out of every little detail."