We spoke to Danilo Petrucci after his move to MotoAmerica.
Following the opening weekend of the MotoAmerica Superbike series, we had a chance to speak with former MotoGP rider, Dakar stage winner and MotoAmerica newcomer, Danilo Petrucci, to get his thoughts on racing in America, learning new tracks and getting comfortable.
First of all, congratulations on your wins at COTA in the opening round of MotoAmerica. Tell me a little bit about your impressions of the Superbike series.
Thank you for the congratulations. I like, a lot, the series here. It was a different race because we were with MotoGP, so the paddock was just for us. I like the environment a lot the environment, especially the behavior of the riders. They are really, really good guys. Yes, I like it.
How much time have you had prior to Austin to get on the Ducati and get comfortable?
I had just 2 tests [with the bike] for a pair of days each, so 4 days in total between Portimao and Misano. So not so much time to try the bike, but with my team we work really hard.
How close, or far away, are you from being fully fit after the accident in December?
After all the accidents I got, it was difficult for me at the moment to be 100% fit. But I’m getting better day by day, even because I can have better training. I had a lot of accidents in December in the Dakar, so yes, I’m not 100% fit.
Are you adapting well to life in the US?
I am adapting quite good to the life in USA. It’s everything new so everything is really nice. Everything is big. I like to come to see and watch another country, was one of the things that had me chose coming here [to the US].
How different is Scranton, Pennsylvania from what you’re used to in Italy?
In Scranton there are a lot of Italians. They and their families are coming from the centre of Italy. So, they know where I’m coming from. Ya, it’s quite a nice coincidence we are coming from the same place in Italy. It’s really nice.
What made you decide to take the offer from Warhorse HSBK Racing and come to America?
I come to America because of Eraldo Feracci. He was the first one to come to me and talk to me about this opportunity. Last year for MotoGP he came to me and proposed this, but I was not sure at that moment because I was thinking fully switch on the rally championship but at the end Eraldo was pushing a lot and also Ducati helped me a lot to make this decision. At the end, they have been really, really happy to propose to me this offer. I saw their faces, and this is the best team I see.
Having raced in MotoGP and European Superstock, what do you think will be the hardest part about racing in America?
About racing in America, I think the most difficult part is learning the new tracks, the different layouts and shapes of the tracks. Also, the tarmac is quite different. I think learning the new tracks will be the most difficult part and try to understand as much as possible the new tracks.
You have familiarity with COTA and Laguna Seca from your time in MotoGP, have you done any research yet on the other tracks/circuits you’ll be racing at?
I have had some research about other tracks but let’s just say I hope to have the chance to go and see some circuits. It’s difficult at the moment to know all the tracks. For example, Atlanta will be new. I have to go to Italy and there is a bad schedule for me. I think all the tracks are really nice and really different so I cannot wait.
Looking back at your younger days, how old were you when you first had interest in motorcycles and motorcycle racing?
Looking back at my younger days, I first tried a bike when I was 3 years old. I start racing at 7 years old with mini-trials, then I switched to mini-cross.
My first motorcycle race was with trials. I won the championship in 1999, then we switched to mini-cross.
What has been your favourite circuit in Europe, and why?
My favourite circuit in Europe is Mugello. It’s my home track and I won my first races, mostly in the Italian championship, and also in MotoGP, I won my first race there. It’s really a flowing track, it’s in the middle of the hills. It’s really a typical European track. And I like it a lot.
When you’re not racing or training, what do you like to do away from the sport? Any hobbies?
I like to stay with friends and with my family. I don’t have the chance to stay a lot with them, so I try to spend as much time as possible with them. With my friends, they are all passionate about bikes so when we have some time we spend it chilling or go do the bikes, or motocross, or go with bicycle. We are really, really good at home. We spent a lot of time together. We act like we are normal because I don’t get to spend so much time at home.
Do you have any advice for kids out there that may be interested in becoming a professional motorcycle racer?
First of all, they need have fun. They start this sport like it is a game and it must be a game to play for all their time. Some time the pressure and everything becomes really difficult to manage but they can’t forget why they jump on the bike. It’s because they have fun. That is the only advice I can do.
Featured images – Brian J Nelson