MotoGP » Danilo Petrucci


Danilo Petrucci

Career

Runner-up in the 2011 FIM Superstock Cup, Danilo Petrucci stepped straight into MotoGP with Ioda Racing for 2012.

Racing with their own CRT design, utilising a 'standard' Aprilia RSV4 engine, Ioda and Petrucci faced a near 40km/h top speed disadvantage before the team switched to Suter-BMW machinery in the second half of the season.

Remaining with Ioda and Suter BMW machinery for 2013, Petrucci certainly didn’t disgrace himself against more experienced CRT rivals during his second season in the top flight.

Highlights included eleventh place at the Circuit de Catalunya and being the only CRT rider to reach Qualifying 2 at the Valencia finale. Eleven points’ finishes in 18 races saw Petrucci end the season a respectable fifth in class.

Petrucci and Ioda switched to Aprilia ART motorcycles for the new 'Open' class in 2014, but the evolution of the Open regulations meant his CRT bike had little answer to the likes of Honda and Yamaha. Nonetheless, the Italian persevered and was comfortably the fastest CRT bike, scoring a best result of 11th in Aragon and troubling the points on six occasions, albeit between injuries, and secured his big chance in the form of a Pramac Ducati ride for 2015

Finally on competitive machinery, Petrucci was arguably the find of the season. Naturally, his ride to second in wet conditions at Silverstone - which very nearly yielded a shock win – stands out, but his top six finishes in Misano and Sepang subsequently were indicative of what he could achieve with confidence under his belt. Coupled to otherwise steadfast consistency on the Ducati, Petrucci deserved to sneak into the overall top ten by the season’s end and comfortably retain his seat for 2016.

His eye-catching 2015 campaign coupled with the more potent Ducati GP15 offered huge potential for 2016, but Petrucci's efforts were hampered from the off when he broke his hand in winter testing and was forced to withdraw from the season opener in Qatar.

He made his belated 2016 race debut at Le Mans but, despite consistent points finishes, standout results never appeared for the Italian - who notably fell while leading at the wet-dry German round. The contest with team-mate Scott Redding for a GP15 ride next year made it harder to take the kind of risks needed for a satellite rider to challenge for the podium - but certainly ramped up the pressure between the Pramac riders, culminating in contact at Aragon, for which Petrucci was handed a ride-through penalty.

Nevertheless, a largely forgettable season ended on a high by outscoring Redding from Brno onwards and thus securing the coveted GP17. The quick-witted Italian, who slipped two places compared to last year's vote, will expect to make full use of such machinery and deliver his best ever MotoGP season in 2017.

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