Danilo Petrucci says he never gave up on his dream of landing a factory ride as the Italian opened up on his deal to join Andrea Dovizioso in the official Ducati team next season.

Petrucci will replace Jorge Lorenzo, who will switch to the Repsol Honda squad following confirmation that Dani Pedrosa will leave the team.

The Pramac Ducati rider said he was overjoyed by the move after treading a long and arduous path to the top of the premier class.

“It was always my target to be on a factory bike, even if I started like the last rider on the grid because when I started racing MotoGP, I remember many races when I was last in free practice, last in qualifying and last in the race, so the road to the glory is very far and I’m especially happy,” Petrucci said.

“When I joined Pramac I discovered that I was not so bad riding that bike and so this pushed me to be here and I believe this is a very good starting point to try to win my first race, even if I hoped it came sooner.”

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Petrucci finished seventh at Mugello after contact with Marc Marquez on the opening lap saw him drop to ninth place, leaving him with an uphill struggle to challenge for the rostrum.

Nonetheless, it seemed for a while as though Petrucci could complete an all-Ducati rostrum at Mugello as he scythed his way through the field, but he dropped back in the closing stages when his rear tyre began to fade.

“Mugello was a very difficult race after Le Mans, where I made the podium. In Mugello last year I was on the podium so everyone expected me this year to be on the podium,” he said.

“We worked very hard and in qualifying I did a small mistake, but my start was very good and then I had contact with Marc (Marquez) and I go wide on the track. I tried to recover at my best but I think my rear tyre with four or five laps to go was very tired.

“I pushed at my best for the race and my target for the race was to save my tyre, but I was in ninth position in the first corner so anyway I did my best. For sure I dream about an all-Ducati podium until five laps to go and it was very special, but I did my best and I have no regrets about the race, so we will focus on this race now.”

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