Danilo Petrucci claimed a sensational debut MotoGP podium after carving his way through the field from 18th to finish second in Sunday’s wet British Grand Prix.
The Pramac Ducati rider feared he was going to crash at every corner in the treacherous conditions but sliced his way through the field and by the end of the first lap he had battled his way up to ninth place.
After passing Lorenzo and Pedrosa, Petrucci found himself behind are leader Valentino Rossi and admitted he felt uncomfortable with his lofty position.
He said: “It was incredible and one moment I was behind Pedrosa and Lorenzo. I’ve never seen that situation. Only on the Playstation! So now what do I do? It’s so difficult to pass them – especially because it’s Lorenzo and Pedrosa.
“I was scared for Jorge after the race if I crash with him! I was scared about the reaction of Jorge, not the crashing. So I tried to keep some distance to him. But at the end everything went in a good situation.”
Petrucci reduced the gap to Rossi to just 1.5sec and looked to be narrowing the gap with three laps left, putting him within touching distance of earning Ducati’s first win since 2010. However, Rossi managed the gap leaving an ecstatic Perucci to cross the line in second place.
Speaking in the post-race press conference he said: “When I realised I was on the podium I was scared about crashing, because on the wet you never know your limit. But then Marquez crashed and – I don’t know why – but Valentino was coming closer, closer and closer. I was scared I was too fast because it’s not usual you gain that time to Valentino. It’s not a comfortable situation.
“Usually when we are training with Valentino (Petrucci is a regular training partner of Rossi and the pair train together at The Doctr’s ranch), when you are close to him he has something more. Last week we touched in one corner. I finished in front of him because I pushed him out. I thought, ‘that’s the last time we train together!’
“I didn’t want to repeat that situation especially because I was happy for this great result. Coming closer to him was too risky and with two laps to go I saw I had created a little bit of gap to Dovi behind.
“In the last lap I think I made every corner wrong! Then in the last corner I started laughing and thinking ‘now I wake up in bed’. So I’m very happy to be there.
“I was always fast in the wet, even with a not so competitive bike. I managed some 11th or 12th positions in the past. For everyone, for the media, it’s not a good result but for us it was a good result.
“I came especially from motocross and maybe I have some advantage with the track changing every lap. Maybe I’m fast because in the wet everyone is slower! So in the box they told me ‘we were scared about you, because you looked like you were crashing in every corner’.
“But for me as I say maybe everyone is slower and I don’t understand why. I really, really enjoy riding in the wet because everything is more smooth. It’s more natural riding.”
Petrucci is now up to eighth in the world championship and will be partnering Scott Redding next year, a situation he thinks will benefit both riders.
He said: “Redding is a fast rider. In the past he has raced against Marc Marquez and beaten him. He will be quick on the Ducati and we can push each other. I want to be eighth in the championship this year, but with Redding in the team may be next year I can be higher.”