Danilo Petrucci returns to MotoGP action in Thailand this weekend as he stands-in at Suzuki for the injured Joan Mir.
A rollercoaster weekend last time out saw the likeable Italian lose out on the MotoAmerica title with Ducati but receive an offer to return to the Grand Prix paddock on the same day, one that was too good to turn down.
Since he retired from the world championship last november, his most recent move will see Petrucci race his third different manufacturer of the year, after kicking off his busy season earlier than usual with KTM at the Dakar Rally.
“It's even difficult to explain my emotion because it's really a mixed feeling of everything,” Petrucci admitted from Buriram’s Chang International Circuit on Thursday. “For sure, I'm really, really happy. I just received this news last Sunday and I was racing in USA. I was fighting for the title at the last race and I said, 'Okay, let me think about it. I have the race' but then I lost the title in USA and I say 'Okay, maybe it's good to ride another week'.
“I accept the offer from Suzuki but it's something really that I still cannot believe. It's one of the biggest gifts that my life has given to me.
“It's really, really nice for me to be in this paddock even only for one race, see all the people, try a completely new bike with a top team. It's something that not even in my deepest dream, I could dream about it. It's something really, really nice and I would like to thank everybody from Suzuki first and then all the people that allow me also from Ducati side, they allow me to race.
“I'm really happy to have raced this year at the Dakar, in MotoAmerica, with MotoGP, with all different brands, all different continents. It’s something unexpected!
“This is my biggest achievement that all these factories, all these people that I work with,” he continued on his busy but successful season. “I remain so connected with all of them and everyone is eager to help me and this makes me really proud. Apart from the results I had from previous years, all the things but I'm really happy to be here and really happy to have met a lot of people with different manufacturers and different categories. We have never seen something like that and I have simply no words to explain my feelings.”
With rain forecast across the Thai Grand Prix weekend, the Italian’s form in difficult conditions could prove an interesting prospect.
“Yeah, I prefer the rain because everything is more calm,” he confirmed. "Everything come more slow.
“Here the race is was so tough when I was 100 per cent fit when I was racing and now I'm almost retired and I'm not fit like I was so I just want to enjoy.
”I'm at the end of, not the season because for me it has been no offseason because for vacation I went to the Dakar! I raced the Dakar this winter, so I'm really tired but I'm really excited to join this team this weekend.”