"Great race and great battle" for Petrucci after first rostrum of 2024

Monday, 26 February 2024 06:28 GMT

The Italian took a podium in Race 2 as he started this season in fine style, battle with Andrea Iannone in the latter stages of the race

Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) added to his MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship podium tally with a thrilling third place in Race 2 at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. After finishing 15th in the Tissot Superpole Race, ‘Petrux’ was able to bounce back in style just a few hours later as he took his first WorldSBK podium at the legendary circuit, bringing his total to four after claiming three in his rookie campaign.

Petrucci is now in his second season in WorldSBK and started his sophomore campaign off strongly, with a third-place podium in Race 2 after a fierce fight with compatriot Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven). In 2023, ‘Petrux’ had to wait until round six, at Donington Park, but Petrucci has enjoyed instant success in 2024 despite finishing eighth in Race 1 and 15th in the Tissot Superpole Race. The Italian will be hoping this continues throughout 2024 as he looks to make history and claim a win in World Superbike.

Discussing his podium, Petrucci said: “It was amazing to finish on the podium. It was a great race and great battle. In Race 1, we were fighting for the podium, but we had a problem with the pit stop and I couldn’t fight with the top guys. On Sunday morning, I didn’t feel good with the bike and didn’t know why, so I was a little bit nervous in Race 2. I was in the leading group before the red flag. First of all, I hope Jonny is okay because I was just behind him, and his crash was massive. 

“After the red flag, we were always there. I wanted to be the top Independent. I tried to pass Iannone and then Rinaldi, but in the last lap, Iannone came back at me. I said, ‘okay, I need to be at least top Independent’ and when I went to overtake him, I saw Locatelli crash; I hope he’s okay too. I said 'come on Danilo, just half a lap'. This is a good result. I’ve always been quite unlucky around Phillip Island. I love this track and place, but for one reason or another, I always left this place without a smile. Today, I’m really happy.”

Petrucci’s made his position clear since moving to the WorldSBK paddock, in that he wants to add his name to the list of riders who have won in both WorldSBK and MotoGP™, plus the #9 has already had success in MotoAmerica, STK1000 and the Dakar Rally. It would be a huge achievement for the Italian to add a WorldSBK win to his name, given his success so far in everything else he has competed in as well as the competition he faces this year.

Discussing WorldSBK in 2024, Petrucci said: “In this Championship, especially this year, you can finish 15th or third. I was so upset but as I’ve said many times in pre-season, I think there are 12-15 riders who can stand on the podium, and this is really good for the Championship. It’s really exciting and fun to watch, but for us, it’s really tough because we are so close!”

Watch the 2024 campaign unfold in style using the WorldSBK VideoPass!