While the world remains in lockdown due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak, the future of the 2020 MotoGP season remains uncertain.
Racing was expected to begin nearly a month ago in Qatar, but with the virus spreading quickly and affecting many countries around the world, precaution has been taken to stop all public events.
Italy is one of the countries most affected by COVID-19, where current Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci resides. The Italian has spent all his time at home during this isolation period after the Government’s request. “For sure spending so much time at home, staying away from our friends is not the ideal situation.
But at this time it is the only way that we have to solve this problem together. By staying at home following the instructions that are given us by the Government, we can help each other. The situation is difficult, but it can only improve if we endure it a little bit more”.
While far from an ideal situation, time off for a MotoGP rider can provide recovery time, something Petrucci has been able to do. “I am trying to use this time to solve some physical issues, like the problem I had at my shoulder last year in Valencia and some that I have in a leg. I am doing some physiotherapy at home, some light training and I am also focusing on my diet”.
Like his teammate Andrea Dovizioso, Petrucci spends considerable time motocross training and often together, which is something the Italian is missing. “I hear Andrea nearly every day, and we text each other a lot. In these days, I miss the most doing motocross with him and training together, also because right now I can’t really ride anything!”
The new season is no closer to starting after the Gran Premio Red Bull De Espagna in Jerez and the most recent SHARK Helmets Grand Prix of France at Le Mans have both been postponed.
The last time riders took to the track was at the final test in February, where Petrucci was positive about the team’s potential. “I was delighted with the test at Losail. I think I was one of the few riders that covered the whole distance in the race simulation by completing 22 laps.
The bike is an evolution of the previous year, but the big difference now is the tyres. We worked a lot on trying to adjust the bike setup and the riding style”.
Even in these tough moments, the 2019 Mugello winner remains upbeat and excited to commence the new season. “This is my second year with the Ducati Team, and I am proud of it. This year I would like to improve my performance compared to last season. In 2019 I got my first win in MotoGP, and I was able to fight for the third position in the standings until there were two races to go.
This year I want to fight for that placement during the whole championship. For sure, this season will be a surprise for everybody. We are not used to such an intense programme!
The calendar is extremely tight, especially in the last months, so we need to do a good mental and physical preparation and try to rest now because then we won’t have time. Honestly, I can’t wait to face this demanding calendar!”
It’s certainly a unique situation we live in currently, but preparations for the new season continue for riders with training at home, before one of the most grueling seasons to come in the sports history.