Danilo Petrucci issued a staunch defence of Ducati’s working methods in light of the protests that somewhat overshadowed Sunday’s spectacular MotoGP curtain raiser in Qatar.

Soon after contesting his first race for the factory Ducati squad, Petrucci insisted the Bologna factory fully “respected the rules” currently in place. Rival manufacturers “always try to stop us and they can’t – they copy,” he said.

The comments came after four rival manufacturers – Honda, Suzuki, KTM and Aprilia – protested the use of a device attached to the swingarm of Petrucci, Andrea Dovizioso and Jack Miller’s GP19s on Sunday.

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“For sure in the paddock there is always the voice that Ducati overtakes the limit,” said Petrucci. “But we read and respect the rules. Then a lot of solutions from many other teams, they have copied our solutions, from the winglets, to the salad box, to everything.

“They always try to stop us and they can’t - they copy. At least I’m happy that the rules, as always, have been respected. It was not a lot of points but we saved these ten points.”

Petrucci was referring to ten points he collected for sixth place, a result that left him “very disappointed” considering his pace at a preseason test here, as well as that shown in FP4.

After a lousy first lap, the Italian was unable to make any impression on Dovizioso, Marc Marquez, Cal Crutchlow and Alex Rins, who were consistently showing toward the front, in the final laps.

The reasons were twofold: first Petrucci gambled with Michelin’s soft front tyre option, as he expected the temperature to continue falling beyond 19:45; second, his Ducati lacked the top speed of Dovizioso’s, making overtaking on the straight difficult.

Asked why he couldn’t replicate his supreme pace in FP4, Petrucci said, “The bad start [and] with the gamble, with the tyre choice. But, if you remember, I lost the podium last year because I used the soft front. I used the soft front again. Maybe next year I will learn the lesson!

“I’m not so stupid. We saw at 7pm, then at 7:30 it dropped down. At 7:45 we saw the tyre temperature go down. The problem was it was stable. It was not like yesterday, when it went down, down, down and the humidity goes up. Today there is no humidity.

“I made a gamble. I was very, very fast in the race simulation. I was very fast in FP4. I was very fast this morning. But riding alone is a thing, when you are very, very fast. But today the race was not so fast because I started on the first lap in tenth. After some laps I was third or fourth.

“The problem was I wasn’t able to overtake. Especially we have to check why my bike was so slow on the straight. I was not able to pass any rider. I had to defend at the first corner. Rins was very fast. When he made a mistake he was able to recover and go in front.

“But Dovi was able to pass him and make his pace. For me it was not possible. This was difficult to manage at the end. I had to recover a lot in acceleration and in the last two laps I missed the rear tyre. But with three laps to go I was 0.9 from the top.

“You know, I made a gamble but it was the right option. For sure I’m very disappointed with this sixth place. I wanted to fight for the top five. Then in the other end I’m happy because I was with the top guys and there are still 18 races. I want to stay at this level for all the races, which is my main goal.”

As well as the controversial device on the Ducati swingarm, Petrucci used the appropriately titled ‘holeshot device’ at the start. Its effects weren’t so visible here, due to his 'mistake'.

“The device yes, but my start not! The problem is I immediately wanted to recover some positions but I was too fast using the clutch. Then the bike feeling is a little bit different in that part. But it was my mistake,” he said.

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