Danilo Petrucci doesn't expect the pressure on his shoulders to ease despite his first podium for the factory Ducati team at Le Mans on Sunday.

However, with help from team-mate Andrea Dovizioso, Petrucci has been able to block out the critics and deliver his best result since the same French event last year.

"No, it's since 2017 that people give me pressure because the situation two years ago was with Lorenzo, last year the same," said the Italian, promoted to the official Ducati team in place of triple MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo but the only factory rider on a one-year contract.

"I always have a lot of pressure and I won nothing at the moment! I don’t imagine if I win something, one day... but people always like a lot to criticise me. I just don’t listen and I don’t care.

"For this, I have to say a big thanks to Andrea who after Austin talked to me and said not to care, push [to improve] your weak points and find the way to enjoy what you are doing. This has helped me a lot.

"This podium is also part of a big work that we made [training] with Andrea this winter and until now. But I always have this weight on my shoulder, maybe because I weigh a lot!"

After sixth and fifth places in the previous rounds, Petrucci qualified as the top Ducati in second and took the fight to Honda's world champion Marc Marquez in the early stages of the Le Mans race (pictured).

Mistakes then dropped Petrucci to sixth, but he fought through to finish in the wheeltracks of Dovizioso for third place.

"Today was just a very, very nice battle. At the beginning I was there with Marc and for sure he was controlling the race. I didn't want to let him go. but I made a big mistake in Turn 8 and lost three positions.

"Then I made another big mistake and I was in P6, like always. I said 'not today' and I start to push.

"At the end there was a good fight with Andrea. I didn't want to repeat Argentina [when Iannone took Dovizioso out] some years ago! So I said 'ok, I only try to pass where I can be sure'. He was better than me in acceleration which permitted him to be a bit far ahead in the braking area. But at the end it's a very good result for our team."

Despite the caution with Dovizioso, Petrucci's bike still finished the race a little battle-scarred.

"My bike was damaged on the right side, the winglet. I touched with Marc at corner one, but it was on the other side. Maybe it was with Pol Espargaro. I hope Pol wasn't affected by that contact.

"Fortunately it was not a big damage… My bike is always damaged after the races! My leathers or bike always touch with someone."

Petrucci is now fifth in the world championship, one place and 15-points ahead of Pramac's Jack Miller, seen as his main rival for the 2020 Ducati team seat.

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