16 March 2016
MotoGP Qatar: Petrucci: 'Perhaps the hardest race of my life'
“Usually, a MotoGP race is hard. This time maybe it will be the hardest race of my life” – Danilo Petrucci.
Danilo Petrucci will ride in Thursday's opening practice for the season-opening Qatar MotoGP, but isn't sure if he will start the race.
The Pramac Ducati rider has only partially recovered from multiples fractures to his right hand, suffered during testing at Phillip Island on February 19.
“I really don't know how the situation is. Maybe it will be maybe very very difficult to ride. I don't know what is going to happen with the hand and what to expect from tomorrow,” Petrucci said in the paddock on Wednesday.
“I want to stay calm, and I know it will not be easy. Usually, a MotoGP race is hard. This time maybe it will be the hardest race of my life - if I can race.
“Tomorrow night [in practice] I will discover a lot of things. Maybe with some painkillers I will not suffer so much with the hand, but maybe with [a lack of strength in] the arm.
“I have a lot of confusion in my mind. I want to think of the championship, because I know I could be competitive all through the championship and I don't want to make any extra damage here.
“The situation is risky, because to fix the bones, I need six to eight weeks, and it's only 25 days ago I broke my hand. I broke the second metacarpal in about five parts, and the doctor put a plate with six screws in only one bone. And the third and fourth metacarpal have three screws each. So the total is twelve screws!
“You know you can always crash and for braking the doctor said I need to put a plaster cast [on the hand]. Otherwise when I'm pushing on the hand during braking it will break the bones again. So tomorrow I will see if the situation is clear.
“Maybe I will leave the box and in the first corner say, f**k. Then try the second, third corner and come back. But maybe I will ride three or four laps, and then feel the arm pump, the problem with the tendons.
“But there is a chance that I could not feel so much pain and I could ride. Then I want only to score some points for the championship.
“With one week more, maybe I could be better. But we have to confront this situation now. But it's only a motorcycle race. Sometimes, you have to work with many bigger problems, so it's only a motorcycle race. And if something is not good, we will start from Monday again thinking about the next races where maybe we are at the level we showed at the test.”
Petrucci had set the second fastest lap time during the opening official test at Sepang, then was quickest in the damp opening day at Phillip Island. In his absence, team-mate Scott Redding confirmed the potential of Pramac's GP15 machinery with the second best time in the Qatar test.
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