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A day with Petrux: interview to Danilo Petrucci and the workout of a MotoGP champion

Smiling, easy-going and laser-focused on his workout. This is how we saw Danilo Petrucci, a.k.a. Petrux, training during his workout day at Technogym’s Village in Cesena. Danilo Carlo Petrucci, born in 1990 and latest talented addition to the Scuderia Ducati.

A world-class motorcyclist from Terni, a medieval town located right in the middle of the Italian Boot, who knows the value of climbing up the ladder from local competitions all the way to the 1st place in the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello Circuit.

We spent the day with Danilo “Petrux” Petrucci, watching him work out to get some of the secrets behind his of training and talking about the importance of physical exercise for a motorcyclist, how’s life behind some of the fastest vehicles on earth and life in general.

A life on the ride

Danilo’s career officially began in 1998, when he got the minimum age required to ride mini trial bikes. However, as Petrux admitted, his real call to the racing world began much earlier.

I’ve got my passion for motorcycling from my dad, who was a racing cyclist and worked in the world of MotoGP. I was born in a motorcycling world: in my dad’s garage, all I could see was motorbikes; on the TV, my family always watched MotoGP. It goes without saying that I’ve become quickly passionate about it.

He soon starts gaining his first trophies. In 2000, he’s national mini trial champion; from 2002 to 2004 he holds the regional mini cross trophy. Just to make things clear, he was 10, 12 and 14 when he gained his first trophies.

In 2006, he switched to road racing, where in almost no time he’s recognized as one of the most promising racing champions in Italy. Year after year, he rises through the rankings, changing championships and riding always faster and more powerful bikes. Finally, in 2012, he enters MotoGP. His skills on the bike are quickly noticed, so much that in 2015 he switches to Pramac Racing and relishes his first ride on top of a Ducati bike.

That’s where his first bronzes and silvers at the highest levels of moto racing start to arrive. Ducati takes notice of it, and decides to invest in the 6-foot guy from Terni. In 2019, he joins Ducati, sharing the prestigious post with Andrea Dovizioso. The investment pays off, because in no time he gains his first victory at the Grand Prix in Mugello.
However, Danilo Petrucci is not “just” a MotoGP champion. He is a humble, extremely polite and funny 28 years old guy, who just loves going fast and doing outdoor activities, as he tells us:

“I love running and cycling whenever I have the chance. Also, I am quite lucky that what’s part of my training routine has become a hobby of mine as well, as in the case of motocross, which I do and like a lot. I must say that I do not consider working out at the gym like a real workout, because I like working out, it gives me pleasure and I love the feeling I get from it.”

His jovial and friendly attitude clearly got Andrea Dovizioso as well, who, breaking all the stereotypes associated to team rivalry, is a good friend of Danilo Petrucci, so much that they work out and train together. Speaking about his relationship with Andrea, Danilo says:

“I have a great relationship with Andrea, we do not just work together inside the box. Although we compare each other’s bike on the box as most riders use to, I’ve also moved close to where he lives, so that I can learn from his experience, his workout methods. Together, we give each other feedback on the way we feel as we work out and we assess whether the workout has been too hard or too easy and why.”

Tell us one thing you’ve learnt from him, and one thing Andrea’s learnt from you.

“One thing I’ve learnt from Andrea is to think more lucidly and to keep calm. One thing that he’s learnt from me… well, perhaps how to make mistakes! I do show him quite often how to make those”

Getting ready for a MotoGP Championship

Speaking about training at the gym, we follow Danilo as he works out with his personal trainer. He tells us that his training routine changes depending on whether he’s on or off season. Two factors need to be taken into account whatever his workout: his size (he is 6 feet tall and quite muscular, a physique quite uncommon for MotoGP racers) and his love for cardio activity.
“Moto racing requires a lot of energy in the long run, which is why cardio training turns out to be extremely useful. Therefore, we always insert a cardio component in my training routine. This is also the part I like to do the most.”

What about your diet?

“I follow quite an easy diet, as it lays on some basic ground rules. Since I travel a lot, I cannot find always find the same food, which makes a strict diet harder to follow. At the same time, I am quite bulky as a motorcyclist, so I need to pay attention to what I eat, which is why I need some guidelines for every meal I take. It took me some years to get to this point anyway.”
Having said that, it’s not Like Danilo doesn’t have a cheat day: “Generally speaking, I like to eat a lot. If I had to choose one kind of food on my cheat day, I’d definitely go for pizza!”

Before leaving him to his workout, we ask him about his mental preparation before any race. “Before a race, I try to be as relaxed as possible. I try to think about the moment I’m in, and I only focus on what I need on that specific moment, without overthinking about the future or my feelings. Clearly, that is not easy, but I always think that I’m having fun and enjoying every single moment of the race”.

Petrucci’s workout

Danilo's training during his visit to TG Village was not aimed at a specific goal, being the only session of the week between two races. This session was mainly aerobic with a few small anaerobic stimuli. The peculiarity of this workout is to stimulate those kinetic chains that are normally activated during the race, though in an unstable environment.
The total duration of the session that Petrucci has carried out with us is 90 minutes, and consists of a warm up phase, a circuit training and a final cool-down. In particular, the circuit training is composed of four different circuits, each with the same structure of 4 exercises. The 4 exercises follow this structure:

  • Exercise 1 stimulates the agility of the lower limbs with the Agility Ladder.
  • Exercise 2 focuses on stimulating the core.
  • Exercise 3 is pure calisthenics.
  • Exercise 4 involves the use of kettlebell and/or another tool.

Each circuit finishes with a four-minute cool down on a cardio machine.

Warm Up
Cardio on Skillbike, Skillmill or Skillrow + Dynamic Stretching for 15 minutes
Circuit A
45sec work + 15 sec rest - 2 Rounds

  1. 1. Frontal run on agility ladder, 1 step x space + stability on right foot for 2 secs
  2. 2. Plank on balance dome
  3. 3. Suspension hold on gymnastics rings
  4. 4. Kettlebell swing
Active recovery of 4 minutes at average intensity on Skillbike, Skillmill or Skillrow
Circuit B
45sec work + 15 sec rest - 2 Rounds

  1. 1. Lateral run on a ladder, 1 step x space + stability on external foot for 2 secs, grabbing and throwing a med ball
  2. 2. Barbell cleans + burpees on balance dome
  3. 3. Traction hold
  4. 4. Kettlebell – right arm presses and left arm holds the position on an unstable base
Active recovery of 4 minutes at average intensity on Skillbike, Skillmill or Skillrow
Circuit C
45sec work + 15 sec rest - 2 Rounds

  1. 1. Frontal run on ladder, 1 step x space + 2 secs balance on left foot
  2. 2. Plank on balance dome
  3. 3. Supine position, arms tight holding gymnastics rings (feet on the ground)
  4. 4. Kettlebell - frontal plane circumference with lateral displacement
Active recovery of 4 minutes at average intensity on Skillbike, Skillmill or Skillrow
Circuit D
45sec work + 15 sec rest - 2 Rounds

  1. 1. Agility exercise on the ladder of your choice
  2. 2. Torque with med ball
  3. 3. Suspension hold on gymnastics rings
  4. 4. Kettlebell – left arms presses and right arm holds the position on an unstable base
Active recovery of 4 minutes at average intensity on Skillbike, Skillmill or Skillrow

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