New Tech3 MotoGP rider Danilo Petrucci says he was “the first one to see and believe in KTM” and the progress it had made after the 2019 season.
The factory Ducati outcast has joined Tech3 for 2021 after signing directly with KTM, and will ride as a factory-supported rider at Herve Poncharal’s squad.
The double MotoGP race winner signed with KTM before it demonstrated its race-winning form during the coronavirus-truncated 2020 season, but says he knew KTM’s potential following the step forward it had made with its RC16 in 2019.
When asked by Autosport following KTM’s launch event last Friday if he could expect more from his debut Tech3 season than he could during his factory Ducati tenure, he replied: “For sure, in the last two years I was able to win a race per year.
“But I think I was the first one to see and believe in KTM and the upgrade they got already at the end of 2019.
“It’s a big change because after six years [with Ducati] it was time to join another factory like KTM.
“Especially because I saw in the last part of 2019 the improvement, and since the beginning of 2020 the bike has been very fast.
“They’d won already in the third races of the championship and the last race of the championship.
“So it’s a big, big opportunity for me. For sure the target is to win again and to win with KTM, with this manufacturer. [which] means that I will have won with two different manufacturers which just only a few riders were capable of doing.
“It’s a big target and I want to do it.”
Petrucci says the pressure on him now he is with a satellite team again is no less than it would be if he was still a factory team rider.
“Yeah, maybe in the past, but if you have the same bike [as the factory riders] like I had in Pramac, this means you can fight for the top positions,” he explained.
“For example, Miguel [Oliveira] last year with Tech3 won two races.
“So, it means in terms of pressure I don’t care about this because I know I have the full factory bike, so I have to stay in front.
“I don’t have less or more pressure than the Red Bull guys.”
He added: “I don’t think there are advantages of disadvantages [of a satellite team compared to a factory].
“We are technically speaking all on the same level with the bike. So, unfortunately, I’m the oldest one of four but the most experienced.
“[I’ve ridden] other bikes in MotoGP so I can give a lot of experience back.
“I don’t see any big thing comparing to the Red Bull factory. I mean, we are factory [supported] too.”