Danilo Petrucci resisted the urge to post a late ‘time attack’ in Thailand, safe in the knowledge that he currently possesses the race pace to challenge the first “six or seven” names in the MotoGP class.

With one Ducati GP18 at his disposal, Petrucci appeared to be in strong shape across the three days at the Chang International Circuit. “We have always been in the top five [or] top seven,” he noted on Sunday afternoon.

Like fellow Ducati man Andrea Dovizioso, Petrucci felt competitive when using the second of Michelin’s rear tyre constructions, which riders felt offered less grip than what was initially used on Friday.

Such were the extent of Jorge Lorenzo’s struggles at the test, the GP17 Petrucci had in his garage on days one and two was drafted into the factory box for Sunday. Not that it seemed to perturb the five-time MotoGP podium finisher.

Thus the 27-year old shied away from pushing for an eye-catching fastest lap late into Sunday. “The feeling after three days has been tough in this heat,” Petrucci said.

“But anyway, I think it's the same for everyone. We are deciding using the last hour for like a qualifying hour, but no one will give us a prize. So for sure, going home with a good lap time is always nice, always special, but anyway, we know that we are competitive.

“We have been always in the top five, top seven, top eight, so always in the top, and we didn't change a lot the bike, almost nothing. So from Sepang, the track is very different, so we hope that in Qatar, maybe the bike will remain the same, like here.

“For sure we have still three sets of tyres, and I didn't use a lot of tyres these days, even if I did a lot of laps. But we are happy. We are positive, so maybe we are ready to go home without an extremely good lap time, but we have a good pace.

“Especially we tried the tyre from the Red Bull Ring, and we have been fast even with that tyre. The problem is that we come here in October with a different tyre, different temperature, and most of all I think a different setup of the bike, because this will be one of the last races of the season.

“So you have one almost full season to develop the bike and see what's going on, what's better or not. So yes, the lap time is important, but not so much that time.”

The Italian has experienced the perils of risking it all unnecessarily before the season has begun. At Phillip Island in February, 2016, he badly broke his hand on the final day, an injury that forced him out of the first four races of that year.

“In fact, two years ago in Australia,” recalled Petrucci, “we didn't find a solution in the last hour, and we were pushing a little bit more and I destroyed my hand, so I don't want to repeat that situation.

“I want to arrive in Qatar with full confidence, because we know that in Qatar, we can be very fast, so at the moment, we are I think fighting for the top six, top seven positions.

“In Qatar it will be different, for sure. For sure my race pace, especially with the Austria tyre is good. I think almost like Dovi. And I did my best lap time with 35 laps on the front.

“So yes, it's not important because here there are two braking areas, but not so heavy, and you need full support also from the rear. And we'll see."


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