MotoGP: Danilo Petrucci officially confirmed for Dakar switch

Danilo Petrucci has been officially confirmed to switch from tarmac to all-terrain for 2022.

Danilo Petrucci will officially make the move from MotoGP to ride for KTM in the Dakar Rally for 2022 in official KTM backed Tech3 KTM Factory Racing colours, donning the beautiful orange livery we have become accustomed to this year.

Petrucci has a racing story like no other coming from the depths of the Stock1000 championship before being thrown in the deep end in MotoGP on an uncompetitive CRT machine, pulling some incredible results out of the bag before progressing onto the Pramac Ducati squad and eventually the Factory Ducati squad racking up victories at Mugello 2019 and Le Mans 2020. The Italian is a well-loved and highly respected character within the MotoGP paddock and it’s no surprise he was able to charm KTM and Pit Beirer, making a lasting impression with the brand and enlisting their help to complete his dream.

It has been a lifelong dream for Danilo to ride in the Dakar ever since he was a child, therefore when it became apparent he was to lose his MotoGP ride for 2022 he opened talks with the highly successful manufacturer about a switch to the gruelling challenge of the Dakar race. KTM boast a record of 18 consecutive wins winning every race between 2001 and 2019 and have many tools at their disposal to make this move as seamless as possible, enlisting the help of Matthias Walkner, Toby Price and 2021 winner Kevin Benavides to aid the transition from MotoGP to Dakar.

The first test of the KTM 450 RALLY.

The Italian has already tested the KTM 450 RALLY and has spent time using the challenging navigation systems at a test and will make his official first attempt on 1st January 2022.

Danilo Petrucci: “For me, it is really a dream come true to race the Dakar. It’s an event I’ve always wanted to do since I was a child when I was watching videotapes of the Dakar Rally from the 80s and 90s. Now, thanks to KTM, this dream is coming true. First, I would like to thank KTM for this great opportunity; I think I will be the only rider that in just over one month has competed in MotoGP and then the Dakar Rally – so it is with great pride that I go there. My main target is just to finish the race and enjoy it. The first approach was to have some roadbook training with Jordi, he competed in the race many times and finished on the podium, so he has been great in helping me learn this special art. I had my first taste of riding the KTM 450 RALLY recently at an initial test in the Dubai dunes, where I was with KTM’s Dakar champions and I was able to learn so much from them – it was great to see them riding, and they were super nice and helpful to me. I hope the training for the next month will be enough; for sure it will be a tough race, but I am excited.”

Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsports Director: “Danilo’s talent and his character means he is one of the few elite-level guys that we believe can make this radical move from the asphalt to the dunes. It’s a great story for a great guy. We want to thank him for his professionalism and all his efforts as part of the Tech3 team in our MotoGP project and now it’s time for another ‘world’!”

Featured images – KTM Media