Danilo Petrucci officially presents a sensational breakthrough in the world of motorcycle racing. After a lifetime of competing in road racing, ten years of which have been spent in MotoGP, the Italian rider will surprisingly move to the Dakar Rally in 2022 with Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing .
This was officially announced by KTM ahead of Petrucci’s last MotoGP race, the Valencia Series on November 12-14, where he also defended KTM’s Tech 3. Petrucci is known to love the world of off-roading, and one of his dreams is to go down in the Dakar Rally. Now, KTM is making that dream come true.
During his career in MotoGP, Petrucci has defended Ioda Racing, Pramac Racing, Ducati Team, and Tech 3 KTM. Petrux collected 10 podiums and 2 wins, all of which he achieved with Ducati. However, now his career is about to change. He will go down in racing with a very different discipline.
Already Training in the Dubai Deserts
In the past month, Petrucci has also started training to prepare for his debut in the Dakar Rally. He was mentored by KTM Rally Manager, Jordi Viladoms, who is also a former Dakar Rally. Three weeks ago, the 31-year-old rider was even sent by KTM to Dubai to undergo training in the desert.
While undergoing the training, Petrucci even side by side with the front KTM riders in the enduro event. These include the 2018 Dakar Rally winner and 2021 FIM Cross Country Rally winner, Matthias Walkner; two-time Dakar Rally champion, Toby Price; and the latest Dakar Rally winner, Kevin Benavides.
After finishing his career in MotoGP, Petrucci will return to ride the KTM 450 RALLY in his next test run and continue learning navigation. After that, he will leave for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to compete in the 2022 Dakar Rally, which will take place from 2-14 January.
Danilo Petrucci’s Official Statement
It’s an event I’ve always wanted to participate in since I was a child, watching videos of the Dakar Rally from the 80-90s. Now, thanks to KTM, my dream has come true. I want to thank KTM For this opportunity, I think I will be the only rider to compete in MotoGP for one month and then compete in the Dakar Rally.
“So, with great pride, I will go there. My main target is to finish the race and enjoy it. The first approach is to practice reading road maps with Jordi. He has competed in many races and has been on the podium. So he is obviously a big help for me in studying this special art.
It was great to see them riding. They were all very kind and helped me “Hopefully next month’s training will be enough. The race will obviously be tough, but I’m excited.”
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Moving to Rally, Danilo Petrucci Could Be KTM’s Reserve Rider in MotoGP
Director of KTM Motorsport, Pit Beirer , indicated that Danilo Petrucci still has the opportunity to compete in MotoGP 2022 even though he will officially change his direction to the motorcycle rally event. Through Speedweek, Sunday (10/10/2021), Beirer stated that his party plans to make the Italian rider as a reserve racer.
Currently, KTM has two test riders, namely Dani Pedrosa and Mika Kallio, who are 36 and 39 years old, respectively. Pedrosa will no longer be fielded in races after the Styria Series, except in urgent situations, and it is confirmed that Beirer will no longer be racing as a wildcard or substitute for an injured driver.
Last June, Honda test rider Stefan Bradl visited KTM’s headquarters in Mattighofen, Austria. However, rumors that he will replace Kallio just disappeared after his contract was extended by Honda. On the other hand, Beirer stated that although he was amazed at Bradl’s performance, his party preferred to keep Pedrosa and Kallio.
“Stefan just wanted to see if we still had his old bike in the IDM 125,” Beirer joked. Although in weak conditions, we are developing the technology of the bike with both. We will try to win again, and that’s why we keep the same test team.”
Difficult to Find a ‘Super’ Substitute Rider
Looking for a replacement racer is something that often makes every MotoGP team dizzy. Because, looking for a competitive rider is not easy. Not to mention if the test rider can’t be called because the race week schedule has already clashed with the closed test schedule at another circuit. Seeing this, KTM believes Petrucci could be the ideal option.
“Dani has already raced at Spielberg, so for now he wants to be a substitute if the situation is really difficult. However, this is not a ‘luxury’, because Mika will no longer race. So, Mika has been removed from this question. old dilemma,” said Beirer.
However, now we have two good phone numbers for such cases. One of them is Dani, and in the future we can also call Danilo,” continued the man from Germany. who is also a former motocross racer.