Petrucci didn’t set a lap in Superpole after a crash but had shown strong pace throughout the weekend, including an epic P24 to P5 comeback
Race 1 at MotorLand Aragon will go down as one to remember for a multitude of reasons and one of them will be Danilo Petrucci’s (Barni Spark Racing Team) epic comeback. He started from 24th on the grid after not setting a lap time in the Tissot Superpole session before fighting his way up the order to finish in fifth at MotorLand Aragon. It extended his run of top-nine finishes in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship to 14 races.
Petrucci’s day started off badly when he crashed in Superpole on his outlap at Turn 8 with ‘Petrux’ unable to set a lap time. This left him 25th in the classification but gained a place on the grid as Gabriele Ruiu (Bmax Racing) had to start from the pitlane for exceeding the engine allocation rules. Starting from the eighth row, by the end of Lap 1 he was already on the fringes of the points after moving up to 17th.
Two laps later and he was in 15th having passed Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) and Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) before slotting into 14th after overtaking Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW). The comeback was continuing strongly as he moved into the top ten by the end of Lap 4 and was sixth by the end of Lap 7. He remained here for a handful of laps before moving past Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) for fifth.
Reacting to his crash and comeback, Petrucci said: “I don’t know if I want to be angry or happy. I’m really disappointed about the mistake I made in Superpole. It’s the first time in my whole career that I crashed on my first lap. Maybe I was too convinced about my chance to take pole position. I did not finish the first lap. In the race, I just understood that I was faster than the other guys in front. It’s a shame but I’m so happy because the bike was good. I hope tomorrow I can get into the top nine positions in the Superpole Race to start higher up in Race 2.”
Petrucci’s pace throughout the weekend had been good for a podium but with the drama of Race 1 – Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) crashing twice and a three-way scrap for victory between Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) – could Petrucci have won Race 1 had he been able to show his outright pace in Superpole?
When asked whether he could win on Sunday, ‘Petrux’ said: “I will be happy to score a podium. The goal tomorrow morning will be to stay in the top nine, so I start, at least, on the third row. That’ll be better than the eighth row! I don’t know if I can challenge for the victory. Today, I felt really strong and maybe today was a good chance but I made a mistake. I still have a chance to get the podium.”
Can Petrucci repeat his epic comeback tomorrow? Find out using the WorldSBK VideoPass – now only €9.99!