Danilo Petrucci shrugged off a disastrous first day of MotoGP free practice, and believes he and his Ducati engineers have “found something interesting” that can propel him toward the top six.

The Italian felt tenth place was not a true representation of his potential after two close moments with the rear tyre during Q2 prevented him from posting a faster lap than a 1m 39.093s – 0.7s off Marc Marquez’s pole position.

“Not looking at the qualifying, it was a good day,” said Petrucci. “But the problem is that the qualifying is the most important lap of the day. And this morning I was quite fast, I was happy. I'm still happy, because I know that the bike has improved.

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“At the end, yesterday, I lost a session in the morning. In FP4 we found something interesting. Then in qualifying, I did a first attempt that I didn't push my maximum, like always in the first attempt.

“Then I found a good space in the second attempt, but I lost the rear two times in acceleration, and maybe I don' t know if I pushed too much. But we checked the data, and the tyre was not so similar to the previous one.

“But despite this, we are talking about tenths. And the problem was that I lost the bike in turn eleven when I closed the throttle, in the long left, very fast, and the rear tyre locked. I had to pick up the bike, close the throttle, and I lost three tenths.

“Then I think a second row, maybe third was possible. For sure starting from tenth is not good. But I think from sixth is possible, because we are not so far. For sure, I don't think I'm fast enough to fight for the podium, this is sure.

“I mean, I want to, and we will see tomorrow, but I have many riders in front of me. Then I have to check how will be the first laps of the race. Then, for sure I'm more happy compared to yesterday.”

Petrucci identified the rear traction area as well as vague feedback from the front as reasons behind his far from decent feeling.

“The rear traction, you have to be very, very careful with the throttle, and it's one of my weak points. A lack of traction, and not so much feedback from the front tyre, especially when we lean the bike with the brakes, we don't have a lot of feedback.

“But then, I think we improved the bike compared to yesterday. We have to understand sincerely the race tire. Because I don't know if the soft will last for all the race. But for sure I have to recover some positions at the beginning, to try to stay with the top guys.”

Has he been able to use team-mate Andrea Dovizioso (third) and Jack Miller’s (fifth) data as a reference to improve?

“Jack has got a very, very good pace, and I think he has a very good feeling on this track, and he is using the bike very well here. Dovi is always fast, and when he needs it, he can fight for the victory.

“I don't know, it depends a lot on the conditions we will find tomorrow, because if there is not so much traction we are more in trouble compared with Honda. I remember last year, Marquez was unbelievably fast in those conditions, with some wet patches, and even when the track was dry, and was very dusty, he was still unbelievably fast.

“So it's difficult. I saw the Hondas were very quick, also Nakagami and Crutchlow are fast. And the four Yamahas. So I am studying the data of Jack and Dovi. There some very small differences. Hopefully tomorrow we can recover this time and seeing them in action will help me.”



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