What caused Petrucci to drop from fifth to seventh in the closing stages of Race 2?

Monday, 11 September 2023 07:12 GMT

The Italian rookie had been in a fight with Andrea Locatelli for fourth but took the chequered flag in seventh after a late-race issue

On his first visit to the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours since joining the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) enjoyed a strong weekend at the iconic French venue with two top-five finishes. However, this streak ended in Race 2 of the Pirelli French Round when he dropped to seventh in the latter stages and ‘Petrux’ explained what caused his dramatic fall down the order over the final two laps.

In the red-flagged race, Petrucci got off to a good start and moved up from his grid position to fourth after starting fifth. When the red flags were shown, the #9 was running fourth and his grid position for the restarted race was based on the last completed timing point for each rider. Despite his second-row starting position, the rookie got off to a terrible start and dropped outside the top ten before fighting back to ninth at the end of the first lap.

Despite falling down the order, the two-time MotoGP™ race winner fought back through the field to be in the top five by the end of Lap 12. He was closing in on compatriot Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) for fourth but on the penultimate lap fell to sixth behind Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) and then seventh behind a charging Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing), with his streak of top-five finishes ending.

Speaking after Race 2, Petrucci explained what caused his drop down the order: “It was good. On Saturday, we were able to score a top five. In the Superpole Race, we got another top five, which was really good because the starting position is nice for Race 2. I was able to pick up one place and I was fourth before the red flag. Unfortunately, I had a bad start, and I was P12 at the end of the first lap, but I was able to recover a lot of positions. I was still P5 and fighting with Locatelli for P4 but on the penultimate lap, I broke the gearbox sensor, and my bike doesn’t change gears anymore. It could’ve been another top five but, in the end, it was P7. It’s good but we wanted more. The pace was there to maybe fight for the podium or at least another top five.”

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