Danilo Petrucci has spoken of the great emotions felt going into his final MotoGP race weekend with the Pramac Ducati squad at Valencia, calling the past four seasons “the most important checkpoint of my career.”

In his own words, Petrucci felt his time in MotoGP was rapidly coming to a close at the end of 2014 before receiving a call from Pramac team boss Francesco Guidotti to inquire about his services.

Petrucci has scored six podium finishes in the time that followed, and feels his send off will be all the more emotional seeing the personnel on his side of the Pramac garage has remained the same throughout.

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“It’s very emotional,” he said on Thursday. “It’s the last race for me in this team. Four years ago when Francesco Guidotti called me at the end of September my thoughts for the future were that I would never have another MotoGP race in my life. In my brain I said I tried in MotoGP and I was not successful.

“But then after four years this team permitted me to stay here, to score some podiums, to become a factory rider. It’s very sad to leave. I’m very happy to have arrived at this point of my career.

“On the other hand I will miss every person here; not only the technicians. I have had all the same team in my box. My chief mechanic and electronics engineer will come with me, but I will miss the others. We were all new and the team was built for me.

“I think on Sunday I will be very, very sad for the last time they say something to me on the grid as always. On the other hand I’m very happy that in four years I scored my most important checkpoint of my career.”

That’s not to say there is little at stake. Petrucci retains a chance of securing a highly sought after place as top independent rider. He comes to Valencia in eighth overall, five points back of Johann Zarco.

Ending the year ahead of the Frenchman is his task for the weekend ahead. “The best independent prize at the end that will finish the circle (with the team). It will be tough but at this point in the last races I have nothing to lose. In the other races I was a bit in front and had to defend.

“This time I have nothing to lose. I have to be happy because this is my best year in MotoGP for the points. I don’t know what will come on Sunday but we can fight for fifth in the championship. We’ve been fighting with Zarco and Crutchlow.

“I’m happy this fourth year has been the best in this team. Last year I was able to score more podiums. This year I lost two podiums on the last lap. I have still one chance.

“Sunday, I think, the wet conditions help me a bit. I like the rain so why not try to do the best. I improved my performance year by year and I want to continue this in the future.”

Asked for his best memory across the past four years, Petrucci provided several. “I always say maybe in the next race we’ll have the best memory,” he said. “I want to say this. I don’t know. I don’t remember if it was so emotional or not.

“The first podium in 2015 was something no one expected. Also the podium in Mugello last year. Or the fight with Rossi in Assen. Maybe Assen last year was the only regret I had. When you find something unexpected or strange… I had everything prepared to pass Rossi but then I found Rins on the last lap. That race could potentially be a win but it was not.

“I gave my best in and outside the circuit. Sometimes it was enough. Sometimes not. For sure that day at Silverstone was good. I haven’t saved all of these memories in photos in my house.

“I’m waiting for my first win. That should be great. It’s still not arrived. I have all the podium stamped in my mind. But in a superstitious way I don’t have photos of second or third place.”

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