While a lot of MotoGP and other road racers spend time training on MX and off-road bikes, it’s being taken to a new level with Danilo Petrucci confirmed for the 2022 Dakar Rally.
The 31-year-old Italian will leave the Tech3 KTM Factory Racing team in the MotoGP paddock, at the end of the 2021 season. But after apparently consider a move to riding in the MotoAmerica series, he’ll race under the same colours for the Austrian manufacturer over sand dunes, as he switches from the RC16 to a KTM 450 RALLY for famous and challenging desert race.
The 2022 Dakar will begin in the Middle East on January 1st, and cover 14 days and approximately 8,000 kilometres. It’s will be a big challenge, but one which could lead to 2022 FIM competition and a future in desert and enduro racing.
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 video tapes 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 road book 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’!”
Want more motorcycling racing coverage? Click here. And if you’re tempted to follow in Petrucci’s footsteps, there’s a 2022 KTM 450 Rally Factory Replica currently for sale on eBay for £33,000.