Danilo Petrucci will move to the Tech3 KTM squad for 2021, a step back from the Ducati factory team to a satellite team.
The move of Petrucci to Tech3 KTM was met with some confusion and questions at first with people questioning KTM for signing a rider for their junior team who will be 31 next year. People also questioned why Petrucci will move to KTM given his results on the Ducati and KTM’s previous results before the 2020 season started, now it makes much more sense for the Italian.
Tech3 Racing, run by paddock favourite Hervé Poncharal has been in the MotoGP paddock for 30 years, in this time they have never achieved a premier class win before 2020, despite being close on multiple occasions, Johann Zarco was their best bet at a win on the Yamaha M1 but never achieved this.
Herve and his team are like a family, they win together and they lose together, this pairing is a great opportunity for Herve and the team to get Petrucci back to his winning ways.
The team are known to make ‘crazy’ decisions but every time they seem to work out, they nearly lost title sponsor Monster Energy when they hired two rookies in 2017, namely Johann Zarco and Jonas Folger yet both riders would score a podium in their rookie MotoGP season.
In 2018 it was announced that Tech3 will end their long term relationship with Yamaha to move to KTM machinery, also ditching title sponsor Monster Energy for Red Bull. The decision stunned many people including Yamaha, Tech3 were moving from established Yamaha machinery to ‘uncompetitive’ KTM bikes.
The team would lose Frenchman Johann Zarco to the factory KTM team but would gain Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira from the Moto2 championship, a proven race winner and title contender in Moto2 and Moto3.
2019 was a tough year for the team, rider Hafizh Syahrin who performed on the Yamaha could not come to grips with the KTM following Yamaha, neither could ex-rider Johann Zarco with both riders leaving their respective teams. Many people within Tech3 were starting to question the decision to leave Yamaha, especially with Fabio Quartararo battling for wins on the Yamaha as a rookie.
At first, Tech3 hired Brad Binder to replace Syahrin in 2020, this was until Zarco left the factory team, opening up a space for Binder. KTM promoted Binder and moved Iker Lecuona up from the Moto2 class to pair up with Miguel Oliveira.
It is safe to say that 2020 has been outstanding for KTM, they have taken three podiums so far and two race wins, one of Brad Binder and a historical win for Miguel Oliveira, the first Portuguese winner and first Tech3 premier class win.
For Danilo Petrucci, this is perfect news, he will be leaving Ducati who are title contenders but have a motorbike which does not truly match his style for KTM which so far has proven to be fast in all areas.
Petrucci has always had one major disadvantage in MotoGP, his size and weight, he weighs in at around 80KG which is incredibly heavy for a MotoGP rider who normally are around 65KG, however for once, this may be an advantage at KTM.
The reason for this is that the KTM likes to be bullied, Brad Binder rides the bike like a Moto2 bike, forcing it into corners and making it behave how he wants it to. Pol Espargaro has also improved on the KTM following his time at Yamaha by bullying the KTM, something that Johann Zarco could not do.
Miguel Oliveira sits in the same boat as Binder, the pair rode the KTM Moto2 bike and therefore can adapt their skills from this bike onto the RC16, both winning a race in 2020.
Petrucci’s weight will come in very handy here, he will be able to manipulate his weight on the KTM to force it into making the shapes he requires to go fast, Petrucci is a MotoGP race winner and there is no doubt he can do this again. The KTM likes to be forced to fit which is exactly what Petrucci can make it do, it also turns a lot better than the Ducati, the Bologna machine is famous for struggling on corners whereas the KTM is incredibly stable.
KTM also use a steel trellis frame, something Ducati came away from in the 2000s, KTM were adamant their frame would work and it has, despite armchair racers saying otherwise.
The frame offers less flex however means it can be pushed more to work in the rider’s favour, something which has worked wonders in Motocross with KTM winning multiple titles.
Petrucci has already spoken of 2021 following the Styria win and is eager to ride the KTM.
Featured image – www.motogp.com