Danilo Petrucci says it’s “unfortunate” that the Le Mans track surface dried towards the climax of the French Grand Prix after feeling a rostrum result was on in wet conditions.
The Tech 3 KTM racer has always excelled in the wet throughout his MotoGP career having scored a top ten on an un-fancied CRT specification Ioda-Suter machine in his debut year in 2012 as well as a first ever podium back in ’15 at Silverstone in similar conditions, with his sole rostrum appearance of ’20 coming in the French GP where he streaked to victory for Ducati on a soaked circuit.
He quickly made his way forward as the rain began to fall in the early reaches of this years edition of the French event having qualified 17th in a drying Q1 session, the Italian eventually taking the chequered flag fifth for his first top ten on a KTM following a difficult opening four races for new employers Tech 3 in which he managed just five points.
Petrucci reckons a fourth straight podium at Le Mans would have been on the cards had the track remained wet throughout, though conceded he was happy to bag fifth after nearly losing the front of his RC16 following his pit-stop after finding the track “like riding on ice.”
“It’s always a nice place for me, I think I’m one of the only riders that likes to ride here in the rain and it was great to be the fastest rider this morning in the wet warm-up,” explained Petrucci.
“The race was very difficult and easy to make mistakes, I made an error when I switched to the bike with the wet tyres as I went wide a bit because I lost the front because it was like riding on ice.
“After that I managed to have a good race, unfortunately the track dried so quickly because for a moment I thought I could finish on the podium for the fourth year in a row at Le Mans but I’m still happy as to be the best KTM is a really good result.
The two-time premier class race winner accepted he would be in for a “tough” outing at Mugello-the venue at which he scored his debut success two years ago- for the Italian GP in two weeks time, admitting that he is in a “difficult situation” finding speed in normal conditions with his new steed but that his Tech 3 squad are working “very hard” to get him more comfortable on the RC16.
“I really wanted to have a good result here because it is one of my favourite places, it’s also my team’s home race so I’m happy for that,” continued Petrucci.
“We are working really hard, we’re in a difficult situation technically but the whole team is working very hard to solve the problem.
“The next race is at Mugello where I won last time out (with Ducati) but it will be very tough this year because of the straight, but I have good memories there.”