Danilo Petrucci has acknowledged he and new team-mate Andrea Dovizioso enter the 2019 season with different goals, stating “we need each other to reach them” as he prepares for his first season as a factory rider in the MotoGP class.

The 28-year old, from Terni in central Italy, steps up to Ducati’s factory team for 2019 after four years in the Pramac satellite squad. And testing performances have already caught the eye.

Petrucci was fifth fastest at Valencia before posting the second quickest time a week later at Jerez. Yet despite this early promise, the six-time podium finisher was accepting of his role as the factory team’s number two rider.

Danilo Petrucci, Ducati MotoGP 2019 launch

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Speaking earlier at Ducati’s glitzy team presentation in Switzerland, Ducati Corse General Manager Gigi Dall’Igna explained how the factory’s approach in its rider line-up differed to the two previous years, when Jorge Lorenzo was on their books.

“We’ve changed from two riders who believe they can fight individually for the title to a system that will optimise the overall result of the team,” Dall’Igna explained. “I’m not talking team orders, but synergy in development of the bike, and of bike set-up during a race weekend.”

Petrucci seemed to echo these thoughts. “Like Andrea, I feel good; not relaxed, but conscious and focussed,” he said. “I have quite a clear mind. I’m doing my work this winter.

“I’m really looking forward about going to Sepang. Last year wasn’t a good race. But Andrea and me can make good work together and I can only learn from him and give back some help during the year.”

On the prospect of working with Dovizioso – four years his senior – in the same team, Petrucci said, “Dovi has always been a target for me since the first time I joined the Ducati family. I’m always looking at his data and learn to ride like him.

“I’m really happy to be working with him because he’s very clever. I always say Dovi is first a great guy, then a great rider. I think we can follow our target. We have maybe two different ones, but we need each other to reach them.”

The Italian can’t count on time to achieve results. Having a one-year contract, he knows all-too-well that satellite runners Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia are aiming for his seat in 2020.

So what are his goals for the year ahead? “My target is to be satisfied at the end of the season,” he smiled. “It’s not easy! It’s hard to say now in this moment of the season.

“But for sure, I want to be a factory rider for many years. It’s written on the fairing. We have a mission [win-now].”



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