Danilo Petrucci: “I was on the podium so I said ‘come on, half a lap left’”

Danilo Petrucci claimed his first WorldSBK podium of the season after getting the better of Andrea Iannone.

Danilo Petrucci, race 2, Australian WorldSBK, 25 February
Danilo Petrucci, race 2, Australian WorldSBK, 25 February

Danilo Petrucci recovered from a disappointing P15 finish in the Superpole Race to deliver a stunning ride in Race 2 of the Phillip Island WorldSBK round.

The Barni Ducati rider battled hard against the likes of Andrea Iannone and Michael Rinaldi for P4. 

But after Petrucci and Iannone broke clear of Rinaldi, a spot on the podium opened up on the final lap when Andrea Locatelli crashed his Yamaha.

“Was amazing to finish on the podium,” said Petrucci. “Great battle and it was tough because yesterday we were fighting for the podium but unfortunately in the pit stop we had a problem.

“I could not fight with the top guys. This morning I was not feeling great with the bike and I don’t know why, so I was a bit nervous in Race 2, but then I was in the leading group and always there.

“Then the red flag; I was behind Jonny [Rea] and his crash was massive. After the red flag we were there and I said ‘try to be the top independent and to stay calm’. 

“I tried to pass Iannone and then Rinaldi but in the last lap Iannone came back again, but I wanted to be top independent.

“When I went to the inside of him I saw Andrea [Locatelli] lose the rear and have a big crash. I was on the podium so I said ‘come on Danilo, just half a lap left’.

“This is good a result because I have always been unlucky here. I love Phillip Island, I love Australia but for one reason or another I always left this place without a smile.

“But today I’m really happy. I think we did a good show.”

Petrucci’s podium is his first in 15 races after last stepping on the rostrum in Race 2 at Most.

Speaking about how hard podiums are to achieve in WorldSBK, Petrucci said: “It was good but in this championship you can finish 15th or third. 

“This morning I was 15th and now I am third. I was so upset this morning but as I said many times in pre-season, there are 11/12 riders that can step on the podium which is really good for the championship. It’s really fun and really exciting to watch.”

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