The #9 Barni Spark Racing Team was in mighty form on his WorldSBK debut at Misano, with plenty of reason to believe he’s got front-running pace in Saturday’s Race 1
The 2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship has seen seven podium finishers so far, but could we be about to witness an eighth? Danilo Petrucci’s (Barni Spark Racing Team) form on Friday suggests that he’ll at least be in contention as he fired himself into P2 for the session and P3 overall, as Friday action concluded in Italy for the Pirelli Emilia-Romagna Round.
A rookie in World Superbike for 2023, Petrucci hasn’t been able to convert his MotoGP™ wins and MotoAmerica victories and front-running pace into a WorldSBK podium just yet. A best result of fifth came at Mandalika in Race 1, and the Italian rider has enjoyed six top ten finishes in total. However, last time out in Barcelona, he couldn’t conquer the top ten but back at a circuit which offers good grip and where the Ducati and he work very well at, could this weekend be a turning point in his rookie season? In FP2, Petrucci fitted softer rubber and did a seven-lap time attack, where he tyre life looked good, with him setting his fastest time on the final lap, with all but one lap in the 1’34s. His fastest time of the day, a 1’34.276, was 0.451s behind Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), but just 0.122s behind Razgatlioglu’s fastest time from FP1. Petrucci was able to set his lap times with Razgatlioglu as a good marker in front of him on track.
Speaking at the close of the opening day of action at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli”, ‘Petrux’ reviewed his opening day’s work: “It’s always good to race in Italy, it’s been a long time since I’ve come to Misano! I’m happy and we found a good feeling on the bike in the morning. I’ve struggled a little bit with the rear traction, but then in general, the ride is not so bad. In the end, we had the chance to try our qualifying tyre and that’s why it lasted and why I was able to do my best lap at the end of the seven laps. I’m quite satisfied, but we’ll see tomorrow. Superpole is really important because here it’s difficult to overtake.”
“It’s still far from the lap record but good because it came on the seventh lap. Maybe in the opening laps, we have more to improve. I’m quite confident; I want to start on the first few rows because it’s really important here. I think our pace isn’t bad, so I’m quite confident for tomorrow. It could be a good target to start on the first two rows and finish inside the top five. I always say that the top ten is a good result but after today, we’ll want something more. I think a top five is something we can focus on.”
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