Danilo Petrucci is braced for a 'surprise season' with an intense run of races when MotoGP finally resumes after the coronavirus outbreak.

It's now been over a month since Petrucci last rode his factory Ducati, during the final day of pre-season testing in Qatar, when the Italian delivered an impressive race simulation.

“I was delighted with the test at Losail. I think I was one of the few riders that covered the whole distance in the race simulation by completing 22 laps," Petrucci said. "The bike is an evolution of the previous year, but the big difference now is the tyres. We worked a lot on trying to adjust the bike setup and the riding style”.

That simulation remains the nearest Petrucci's got to racing in 2020 with the Losail season-opener cancelled, followed by the postponement of the Buriram, COTA, Termas, Jerez and now Le Mans rounds.

Most of those events have been pencilled back in at the end of the season, creating a hectic run of eight races in ten weekends. And that's before finding new dates for Jerez and Le Mans, although in reality it's now highly unlikely all 19 remaining rounds will be staged this year.

However many races are held, with Dorna eager to avoid spoiling 2021 by running late into the winter, it's set to be a hectic schedule once racing finally begins.

"For sure, this season will be a surprise for everybody. We are not used to such an intense programme!" Petrucci said. "The calendar is extremely tight, especially in the last months, so we need to do a good mental and physical preparation and try to rest now because then we won’t have time.

"Honestly, I can’t wait to face this demanding calendar!”

This is Petrucci's ninth season in MotoGP and second at the official Ducati team, with which he claimed an emotional debut victory in his home Mugello round last year.

It was the undoubted highlight on the way to a best-yet sixth overall in the world championship and Petrucci now wants a top-three challenge.

"In 2019 I got my first win in MotoGP, and I was able to fight for the third position in the standings until there were two races to go. This year I want to fight for that placement during the whole championship," said the 29-year-old.

But for now, Petrucci remains, like the rest of Italy, in isolation at home.

“For sure spending so much time at home, staying away from our friends is not the ideal situation. But at this time it is the only way that we have to solve this problem together. By staying at home following the instructions that are given us by the Government, we can help each other. The situation is difficult, but it can only improve if we endure it a little bit more."

Seeking to make the best of the situation, he is also "trying to use this time to solve some physical issues, like the problem I had at my shoulder last year in Valencia and some that I have in a leg. I am doing some physiotherapy at home, some light training and I am also focusing on my diet."

Like team-mate Andrea Dovizioso, Petrucci is a big fan of motocross, the pair frequently training together under normal circumstances.

"We text each other a lot," he said of Dovizioso. "In these days, I miss the most doing motocross with him and training together, also because right now I can’t really ride anything!”

Latest 2020 MotoGP Calendar (including free weekends)

Round

Date

Race

Circuit

1

8 March

Qatar (MotoGP cancelled)

Losail

2

3 May

Spain (postponed)

Jerez

3

17 May

France (postponed)

Le Mans

4

31 May

Italy

Mugello

5

7 June

Catalunya

Barcelona

 

14 June

 

 

6

21 June

Germany

Sachsenring

7

28 June

Netherlands

Assen

 

5 July

 

 

8

12 July

Finland

KymiRing (Subject to homologation)

 

19 July

 

 

 

26 July

 

 

 

2 August

 

 

9

9 August

Czech Republic

Brno

10

16 August

Austria

Red Bull Ring

 

23 August

 

 

11

30 August

Great Britain

Silverstone

 

6 September

 

 

12

13 September

San Marino

Misano

 

20 September

 

 

13

27 September

Aragon

Aragon

14

4 October

Thailand

Buriram (rescheduled)

 

11 October

 

 

15

18 October

Japan

Motegi

16

25 October

Australia

Phillip Island

17

1 November

Malaysia

Sepang

 

8 November

 

 

18

15 November

Americas

Circuit of the Americas (rescheduled)

19

22 November

Argentina

Termas de Rio Hondo (rescheduled)

20

29 November

Valencia

Ricardo Tormo