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Danilo Petrucci says remarks made by Jorge Lorenzo in the Italian media concerning his promotion to a factory Ducati MotoGP seat in 2019 are upsetting.
Petrucci will step up from his satellite Pramac Ducati ride to race for the factory team next season, replacing Honda-bound Lorenzo alongside Andrea Dovizioso.
Speaking to Gazetto dello Sport last week, Lorenzo suggested Ducati’s primary motivation in promoting Petrucci was so it could afford a larger wage for Dovizioso.
“They should have remembered they have a three-time world champion and tried to give him what he needed,” Lorenzo was quote as saying.
“Instead they were focused on increasing Dovizioso’s salary, as he had won some races, and taking a [second] rider who was cheaper.”
Asked about those remarks, Petrucci pointed out he was above Dovizioso and Lorenzo in the standings when Ducati finalised its line-up in the wake of May’s Le Mans race and that Lorenzo was also considering alternatives.
“When Ducati chose me, I was the best Ducati rider in the standings, and Jorge had not yet won a race,” said Petrucci.
“I had more podiums than him and I thought Ducati had made a logical choice, so I think they said, ‘Petrucci is in front and he costs one fifteenth of Lorenzo, let’s take him’. Who wouldn’t do that?
“Then it happened, and the Sunday after that Jorge won [at Mugello]. Anyway, he landed on his feet, because at Honda he’ll still earn 10 times more than me.
“The other thing that has affected me is that he talks as if it’s unfair that I take his place.
“It seems strange that when he signed with Honda he started to go strong, but at Le Mans he said he would look around, I had more podiums, more points in the championship, so I don’t know who would have kept him.
“If Ducati had to choose today, I think they would have kept him, because now he is going very strongly. But I think everyone took the opportunities they had.
“I think if he had the desire to stay, he could have done so. Maybe it was a question of money, I don’t know things went. But I was ready at the right time.”
Petrucci also believes his relationship with Dovizioso was a key factor in Ducati choosing to promote him, while conceding he will be the team’s “second rider”.
“I think I was chosen because I have a great rapport with Dovi and we can do a great season next year, ensuring that Ducati has the best bike of everyone,” added Petrucci.
“Clearly next year I will be the second rider, but I’m not sad about that. “I would be happy if Dovizioso wins the title and I am second, but I’m sure I can do better than this year.”