With Ducati dominating last year's return of the Austrian MotoGP, will this weekend's Red Bull Ring event offer Pramac's Danilo Petrucci a fighting chance of his first grand prix victory?

The Italian, who lost out to Valentino Rossi by just 0.063s at Assen, doesn't expect the factory Desmosedicis to have the same kind of dominance seen one-year ago. Pramac's Petrucci, like official Ducati team riders Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso, uses a GP17.

"Last year Ducati got a big advantage from the wings and because we have a very good engine, but this this year first of all we have a different fairing, different bikes and I'm not sure we can stay in front so easy," he said. "It will be as difficult as the other tracks.

"I don't think we are favourite at the moment. There are a lot of straights, but a lot of braking area and it very important to stop the bike in a few metres. I think at the moment Yamaha is a bit better than us in this. The Honda is not in difficulties like last year. So I don't think it will be an easier weekend, compared to other races."

While waiting to see which manufacturer adapts best to this track, Petrucci singled out world championship leader Marc Marquez as a rider to beat no matter what.

"For me Marquez is always the favourite," he said. "I think when the Honda misses something he puts some more speed and is not afraid to take risks even if he is fighting for the world championship.

"I think at the moment he is the strongest rider on the grid and for sure one of the favourites for the win on Sunday, even if last year he missed the podium.

"But we cannot compare last year to this year. We haven't seen any races like last year. We have no one rider or manufacturer dominating the championship. This is very interesting to watch and even to race in. It's a good moment when you feel the bike is okay and maybe Yamaha and Honda are struggling!"

Valentino Rossi agreed that the favourite changes from track-to-track, but still beleive Ducati have the edge in Austria.

"It's very difficult to say, because this year, it changes a lot at every race track. But I consider the Ducati, the bike and the riders to beat here, like last year. I hope that we can be closer, but Dovi is always very strong, also in the race in Brno he was very fast. And also Lorenzo, for sure he knows that this weekend it could be a good chance for him to win, and he will give the maximum, because also at the test on Monday he was very strong in the pace. And also Petrucci, who is very fast this year, can also fight for the podium."




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