Petrucci: “I would have swum to be able to ride the Suzuki”

four questions to Danilo Petrucci were enough for the Italian to once again show his sympathy and make the journalists laugh with his account of the yes to suzuki What Substitute for Joan Mir in this possibly flooded Thai GP, which would be great for Petrux.

-When did you receive the call?

-They called me before the race last Sunday in Alabama, when I was still fighting for the title. So I said, ‘ok, let me think about it’, because I’m retired and the race in Thailand was tough when I was in my best shape, now that I’m an old guy… (Laughter). I honestly thought that the weather can help me a little… After that last race I had a lot of trouble with the media and I didn’t get back to my shop until six in the evening and my manager told me: ‘We have to decide now, because if we don’t , there is no time to get to Thailand from the United States’. And I said: okay. From there I got into a washing machine and I came here. I really want to get on the bike, it’s something in which I’m alone and that I can manage. I was with my brother in America and we were supposed to stay there on vacation, in New York, and I said, ‘No, you have to go back to Italy to get the Suzuki overalls and then take them to Thailand.’ I owe my brother and his girlfriend a vacation. I left the hotel at 6 am in Alabama on Monday and arrived here yesterday afternoon. It’s the first time I’ve taken a flight across the Pacific. I was going from Italy and I will return there, so I am going to go around the Earth completely. But I can’t explain how excited I am. I don’t even think that in a story thought up by Alfred Hitchcock he could consider running a Dakar with KTM, then going to the United States with Ducati and finally coming here with Suzuki. I don’t think anyone has done this before. And I’m very happy. I have to say that this is one of the greatest gifts I have received in my life. All I want is to thank the world of motorcycling because what they have given me is a gift. That all these factories, from KTM to Ducati, Suzuki, have been so good to me. This shows that outside of the brands this paddock is made of people and I love having such a good relationship with all these people. Apart from the sporting achievements, it is the best thing that I take with me. I already felt this feeling in Valencia when I left. When I went to Austin with the AMA I loved seeing all the MotoGP people, and now I walk across the paddock and shake hands with people all the time. It is something that makes me feel very proud.

-Goal for the weekend? It rains and that can give you more options…

-I hope it doesn’t stop raining until Sunday at four! Also because the race becomes less physical. I haven’t sat on the bike yet but it has been shown to me and all the devices are in different positions, and we can’t change them. I have the thumb brake and I will have to adjust my thumb… But yes, I hope it rains. I was scared when I got here in MotoGP because it was so hot, it was one of the worst feelings anyone can feel. So I hope it stays that way because it will make everything smoother, easier, and then I just want to have fun and finish the race. I think it will be difficult not to finish in a position other than last, but we will see, maybe the bike is so, so good, that I find the way and that allows me to stay closer to the others. I want to give my best, but I’m not worried about the result, although I want to go fast, as always. I have the same motivation as when I went to the Dakar and I didn’t expect to win a stage there. My plan was to have fun, and this weekend is the same, have fun.

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-What is more difficult, the Dakar challenge or this one?

-At least in the Dakar I had had the opportunity to test the bike, although after a few days I had been injured. (Laughter). I was supposed to test for three weeks and I was only able to take advantage of one week, so I was a bit scared when I got to the Dakar. This time I have not had any chance to test the bike. And then we are at the end of the championship and everyone is at a very high level with their bikes. For me last year was one of the worst in MotoGP. When I finished in MotoGP I already knew that I was going directly to Dubai to train for the Dakar, and then without rest I went to the United States, so it has been hard to finish this season because it has been like two in one. But you can’t say no to an offer like this. I would have even swum to be able to ride this bike. (Laughter). If there had been a week I would have done it.

-Do you think that due to the style of riding it will be difficult to adapt to the Suzuki?

-Yes I think so. I’ve always raced V4 engines, and this one is online. The last time I rode one was in 2013 with Ioda, with the Suter BMW, and it was another era in MotoGP. Almost ten years ago. And then the bike, the position, the ergonomics, everything is so different. I’ve looked at some telemetry but it all seems so different. First I need to test the bike and then understand how it goes. Also because with my size I always need something different. So it will be necessary to go step by step to understand things, their working method, which is different. But, well, I’m just happy to be here. Tomorrow we will try to understand how hard it is going to be.

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