Petrucci: ‘Incredible’ Suzuki MotoGP bike so good I would buy it

Suzuki replacement rider Danilo Petrucci has admitted the Japanese team’s GSX-RR machine is so good that if he had the money he would try to buy one for his own enjoyment, having had the chance to debut on it on opening day. practice for the Thailand Grand Prix.

The former MotoGP race winner, Dakar stage winner and MotoAmerica 2022 runner-up replaces injured Joan Mir with the team, dropping straight into the deep end after flying straight from the final round of the American superbike season at Buriram for his first Grand Prix appearance in over a year.

But, despite not setting any targets on his first day, he was immediately able to gel with the machine to finish within 2.5 seconds of fastest man Johann Zarco – and explained by Following that the Suzuki felt so good he got one in 2021 instead of a hard-to-ride KTM RC16, there’s every chance he’s still a MotoGP rider now.

“The bike is so different from what I’ve been used to in previous years,” explained Petrucci, “not only the Ducati but also the KTM. It’s amazing how much speed you can carry on the inside of the corner. This is something you have to understand, because you always think ‘I’m going too fast, too fast, too fast!’ then you realize you’re staying in line and that’s OK, I always try to brake as hard as I can, but that’s not the way this bike wants to ride.

“The only thing I missed was the time trial, but that’s okay because this morning I was so happy I wasn’t last, and this afternoon I think I could have finished a second off the lead. [if not for a mistake and yellow flags].

“I’m still struggling, especially in the first two sections where there’s heavy braking, but in the other parts, where it’s really fluid, the bike is just amazing.

“That’s more or less the position I left last year, and I think this bike has more potential to stay ahead. Maybe not with me today, but I’m happy.

“Maybe if I had raced this bike last year, I wouldn’t have given up my career in MotoGP. That’s for sure, because I really like riding it.

There’s still a lot of work to be done, of course, to learn to ride a machine radically different from the Ducatis and V4-powered KTMs he’s spent most of his MotoGP career on.

The GSX-RR requires a totally different style of driving around corners thanks to the higher cornering speed the inline-four engine is capable of handling, and that’s not something Petrucci has experience with – and, therefore, he admits that he is far from unleashing the machine’s full potential.

Danilo Petrucci Suzuki MotoGP Thailand

“You have a great lean angle, great cornering speed. Of course I still need to know the bike, the team needs to know me, because compared to other riders I’m quite different , in weight and height. But I’m so happy.

“I was so scared, so excited, so curious – but I’m happy because I thought I was slower than I was. When I saw it wasn’t raining, I thought that I wasn’t going to qualify for the race, and in the end I was only two seconds off the lead.

“I used to corner more, brake hard, but this bike isn’t like that. You can carry a lot of speed. I’m used to picking up the bike when you put the throttle on , but with this bike you can stay on the maximum lean angle. You have good cornering speed and you can stay close to the pavement. It’s something I’ve never tried in my life and I have to get used to it, and there are still corners where I couldn’t do a lap.

Despite this, it’s clear from his post-drive feedback that the inline-four machine is (as many riders have said in the past) an absolute joy to drive – so much so, in fact, that Petrucci says that the initial feel of the bike is so good that he may have to enter into negotiations with Suzuki to set a purchase price.

Danilo Petrucci Suzuki MotoGP Thailand

“The position, the ergonomics – it’s my first Japanese bike, and it’s so different, but it’s so good,” he said.

“It’s good that I don’t have any money, because if I did, I would buy this bike!” At the Dakar, I bought my [KTM] bike, but it was only €15,000. I think this one would cost a little more and I don’t have all that money!

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