Danilo Petrucci was signed on to race for MotoGP’s Thailand round to substitute for Joan Mir, who is still recovering from an ankle injury, and was deemed unfit to race. Petrucci, who officially retired from the premiere class at the end of the 2021 season, willingly made a one-race comeback into the premiere class aboard the Suzuki GSX-RR, which would apparently be his first time to race Japanese machinery in the MotoGP.
The Italian racer said that he was thoroughly surprised with the way the GSX-RR rode, and that it was unlike any of the Ducatis or KTMs he had ever ridden before. “This bike is so different from what I used in the previous years, not only the Ducati but also the KTM.” Indeed, the differences between the GSX-RR and Petrucci's previous Ducati and KTM machines isn’t just skin-deep, but goes all the way into the inner workings of the machines. The Suzuki GSX-RR, along with the Yamaha YZR-M1, is among the last modern-day MotoGP bikes to still use an inline-four engine.
Known for being extremely stable when entering and holding a line while cornering, Petrucci was surprised at how much faster he was able to hit corners aboard the GSX-RR. “It’s incredible how much you can carry the speed inside the corner and it is something you need to understand, because you always think ‘I’m going too fast, too fast, too fast’ but then it stays on the line.” He said in an article published by racing publication Crash.
Petrucci had been racing for several seasons on V4-powered machinery, with Ducati Pramac from 2015 to 2018, and the factory team from 2019 to 2020. For the 2021 season, which would also be his last season, he joined KTM Tech3 where he had a rather disappointing run, finishing 21st overall. In the recently concluded Thailand Grand Prix in Buriram, Petrucci managed to finish 20th—42.5 seconds behind the first placer, despite having virtually zero experience on the Suzuki GSX-RR. Meanwhile, Miguel Oliveira of KTM took the win, followed closely by Jack Miller of Ducati and Pecco Baganaia some two seconds behind.
Sources: CRASH, Motorcycle Sports