New items for Petrucci to try at two-day Mugello test, joined by Bulega
After missing out on two days at Misano, Danilo Petrucci is at Mugello for some testing ahead of racing resuming in WorldSBK
While the majority of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship field visited the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” for a two-day test recently, Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) did not as he received a call-up to ride for Ducati in MotoGP™. To make up for this, the WorldSBK rookie heads to Mugello this week for a two-day test on the Panigale V4 R ahead of the Emilia-Romagna Round in early June.
Petrucci was called up to replace Enea Bastianini at the factory Ducati team at Le Mans which took place from the 12th-14th May and clashed with the Misano test. This was on the 11th and 12th May prior to Le Mans, meaning Petrucci did not run in the test and nor did the Barni Ducati team as they opted not to bring in a replacement rider while Petrucci was unavailable for the test.
To make up for some of the lost track time, Petrucci will be back on his V4 R machine in Italy but at the Mugello circuit on Tuesday, 23rd and Wednesday, 24th May as he re-adjusts back to his WorldSBK machine following his brief return to MotoGP™ where he claimed 11th place in the Grand Prix at Le Mans. With regulations prohibiting testing at the same location as a WorldSBK round in the 11 days building up to the round, Petrucci was unable to test at Misano like his rivals but will still get two days of action in Italy. Mugello holds special memories for ‘Petrux’, with it being the scene of an emotional first victory in MotoGP™, back in 2019, beating teammate Andrea Dovizioso and reigning Champion Marc Marquez in a phenomenal final lap thriller at the Italian Grand Prix.
Looking ahead to the test, Petrucci said: “I’m very happy to come back to my WorldSBK bike for two days of testing. It’s really, really important because I was not able to be at Misano and I was not able to try the track where we have the next round. We can have a lot of tests; we can try a lot of new things and I hope we can solve our problem with traction. Can’t wait to ride again at a beautiful track like Mugello.”
Petrucci will not be the only rider on track at Mugello with Nicolo Bulega joining him with Ducati Corse on the Panigale V4 R machine. The current WorldSSP Championship leader has had a test on the V4 R at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto and will now be back on the bike on home soil at Mugello for two days of testing. The second factory Ducati seat is currently available for 2024, with Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) not yet putting pen to paper. There’re also all three Independent Ducati teams that have their existing riders not signed for 2024. This is clearly a test for the future, but where will Bulega fit in Ducati’s World Superbike puzzle.
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