Danilo Petrucci may have a fresh factory Ducati deal for 2020 in his pocket but the Italian rider says it doesn’t relieve the pressure on his position as he turns his full focus on to the MotoGP championship fight starting at Sachsenring.

During the build-up to the German MotoGP Ducati confirmed it has extended Petrucci’s current deal for next season following his strong start to this year having risen up to third place in the riders’ standings after the Assen round.

While Petrucci accepts questions and pressure around his future will now cool, he doesn’t expect the demands to lower as he looks to kick-start his MotoGP campaign after his run of consecutive podium finishes ended in the Netherlands with sixth place.

“It was what both parties wanted to continue in this adventure and the first part of the season has been very good,” Petrucci said about his Ducati deal. “Since the first interview I said my target is to stay in this team for as many years as possible and the next one I have is a big opportunity.

“Now, everybody says I can race with less pressure but in fact there isn’t, there is still an opportunity because we are fighting for the top three in the championship and Andrea and me we want to make good and better races than Assen.

“We have a very big challenge, we have halfway through the season and I think we can be more focused on the race track now and not off track too.”

Petrucci led the Ducati charge in Germany 12 months ago, finishing in fourth place after narrowly missing out on the Italian manufacturer’s first rostrum at Sachsenring since 2016, and hopes to learn the lessons from last year on tyre management to fight for the podium this weekend.

“Last year I lost the podium by one-and-a-half laps because Maverick passed me,” he said. “I was not able to defend because in acceleration I had a very poor tyre life left on the left side. I think this is the key for us to be fast by managing and saving the rear tyre.

“This track has not so many tight corners but some of them are quite long so I think we can fight for the podium, for sure it is very hard to beat Marc here, at least looking at the result of the last few years.”

Petrucci has surged to his highest MotoGP riders’ championship position in third place following his result at Assen coupled with Alex Rins crashing out for Suzuki.

With Rins failing to finish the Dutch TT, Petrucci is also just one of two riders to finish every race inside the points this season – Pol Espargaro on the Red Bull KTM being the other.

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