There’s no victory quite like a home turf victory, and one man who knows exactly what that feels like is Mission Winnow Ducati driver, Danilo Petrucci, who took his first MotoGP victory at Mugello Circuit today.
Now before I get into the details of the actual race, I have a confession to make. MotoGP is new to me, or perhaps I’m new to it. The point is that I’ve just recently started dappling in the world of fast motorcycles at speeds and angles that seem to defy gravity. Yes, this Petrol Pinky is feeling a tad bit ambitious and a lot curious, so I watched the Italian GP. And, I’ll tell you what; I was not disappointed.
One Final Lap to Rule Them All
In one split second move, Petrucci bested Honda rider and reigning five-time MotoGP champion Marc Márquez by a mere 0.043 seconds following an intense showdown to the finish line. Márquez was not Petrucci’s only obstacle to overcome in his pursuit of victory. On his tail was teammate Andrea Dovizioso, who happens to be the more experienced of the two Ducati riders.
Petrucci secured a spot in the front field almost halfway through the race, leading Dovizioso, Márquez, Rins and Jack Miller. Márquez, who was the pole-sitter and led the way for the first half of the race, took back the lead briefly from Petrucci at turn 1 in the final lap but went too wide. Seeing his opportunity, Dovizioso attempted to go through, but Petrucci kept it tight and swept under both riders in a brilliant double-pass to reclaim his lead.
“I knew that Marc and Andrea try to pass me on the slipstream on the straight – they did, they braked really hard, I braked a little bit earlier, and just as I was very tight on the curb, there was just one meter and a half, and I put my bike there,” Petrucci explained.
It was a strategic move that would ensure his win because from there Márquez decided to defend his spot in second place from title rival Dovizioso.
“When I saw Danilo was first, me second and Dovi third, I said, ‘okay, I will not try. I will just defend’,” Márquez admitted post-race. “Because if I try and we both go wide, Dovi would win the race and then it’s worse for the championship.”
Could this Win Mean a Contract Extension?
Danilo Petrucci’s victory in front of his home fans at Mugello was one to remember. But, what’s more, is that the Italian rider had gone into the weekend knowing that his contract with Ducati was coming to an end, and he had yet to secure a win.
“I thought many times in the past to quit my career because I said ‘this is not my world.’ Also, at the beginning of this year, because I have no contract for next season I put pressure on myself and the first three races were not so good.”
Hopefully, his performance at the Italian GP will help him secure a contract extension with Ducati. Petrucci’s is one of the few MotoGP riders who did not come up competing in Moto3 or Moto2, instead coming from Superbikes. He currently sits in fourth place for the world championship behind Rins (3rd), Dovizioso (2nd), and Márquez (1st).