Suzuki substitute rider Danilo Petrucci finishes the MotoGP race in Thailand in 20th place and talks about his plans for the 2023 season
Danilo Petrucci failed to score any points on his comeback to MotoGP. Petrucci finished 20th on the factory Suzuki at the Thai Grand Prix. Petrucci was unable to make the most of his rain credentials, as the Italian had not ridden the Suzuki GSX-RR in the rain prior to the race and therefore had no experience.
The fact that he was able to leave two other riders behind, RNF Yamaha rider Darryn Binder and LCR substitute rider Tetsuta Nagashima, made Petrucci happy: “I didn’t finish last. That means a lot to me.”
“I didn’t do a single lap in the wet with this bike before. I have to thank the team because they tried hard when they made the set-up more or less blind. We had no information at all for a rain set-up,” Petrucci reported.
“My lap times were good at the beginning, but then the track dried. I started to have problems with the front. The pressure in the front tyre increased. I couldn’t keep up with Di Giannantonio. But I didn’t make any mistakes. Maybe it would have gone better with a wet warm-up,” the Italian muses. “I would have liked to collect a point, but I am still happy,” said the MotoGP race winner.
What specific problems set “Petrux” back in the race? “The bottom line is that the set-up was too soft. The temperature of the front tyre went up to over 80 degrees. It was really difficult to ride like that. The front wheel was constantly locking up,” the veteran described.
The past few weeks have been stressful for Petrucci. “It was my last day of work this year. I promise. I’m really exhausted and I need to rest,” explained Petrucci, who secured the runner-up title in MotoAmerica the weekend before.
Bottom line, 2022 was an eventful year for Petrucci. “I feel like I already competed in the Dakar three years ago. It’s a big thing for me that I rode the Dakar and won a stage in the same year that I rode in MotoGP. Until eleven months ago, I was still riding in MotoGP. Eight months ago, I rode the Dakar. Last weekend I was on a superbike in the USA. I can be satisfied with this season,” he sums up.
And what will happen next year? “I have an option for MotoAmerica and the Superbike World Championship. Fortunately I can choose it, but I have to be sure whether I want to continue. Alternatively, I could sit out and prepare for the 2024 Dakar,” reports the 31-year-old.