Danilo Petrucci makes his sporadic return to the MotoGP World Championship this weekend. The Superbike World Championship rider has been called up to replace the injured Enea Bastianini on the Ducati team, and also returns to the manufacturer's factory team - an opportunity as unexpected as it is irresistible.
In an interview with Motorcycle Sports correspondent Simon Patterson, the #9 confided that it's an opportunity he didn't expect to get and accepted easily: 'I’m really happy to wear again my red leather suit! It’s an amazing prize. First of all, I’m so sorry for Enea, because this bad luck, not even one race, I’m so sorry for him. He’s a really good guy and I hope he will come back as soon as possible. Then I must say thanks to Ducati and also to Michele Pirro, because he decided to go to the Italian championship. The last time in Thailand, I said would be my last opportunity to ride a MotoGP bike, and I couldn’t say no to this.'
Despite not setting concrete targets in terms of results, Petrucci believes he will have an easier time than in his last appearance in MotoGP: 'The target at least this time is a little more easy. I don’t want to think about the last time I went to Le Mans with a Ducati and won the race - for this reason, I hope it will rain a lot! But jokes apart, I will try to have fun. For sure to have fun I will need to be fast, but I think the task is a little bit more easy than last October in Thailand with Suzuki. It was an inline four, everything was new, the body position and riding position on the bike was completely different.'
Next, the Italian stated: 'I think this time, I remember quite well how the bike is, at least because the riding position is quite similar to the superbike, and I hope to be not so slow. I need to be as fast as possible to have fun, but I don’t want to think about that. For me, it’s just a great prize. As I said last October, it’s one of the examples that to be a good guy pays in your life. In the end, I have this prize from Ducati and i’m so thankful for that. I can’t wait to wear my red suit.'
On how this invitation came about, Petrucci revealed: 'On Thursday night they asked me if I was available. The fact is that we have some testing next week, but Marco Barni, the team owner, said that if I was happy to go, it was better for him that I went. He understands that it’s a great opportunity to ride a MotoGP bike and that you don’t always have the chance to race in a world championship. To share the box with a world champion is something that I’m really proud of. It was a complete surprise. I have in the deal that I can do things like this, because last year it happened with Suzuki. So this year we have this paragraph in the contract, and fortunately I have a really good relationship with Marco. And now I have to drive with my camper from here to Le Mans!'