KTM MotoGP regular Danilo Petrucci has confirmed he will make his Dakar Rally debut in 2022.
Petrucci, who has accumulated 10 podium finishes and two wins in his 10 seasons on the MotoGP grid, will fulfil a lifetime dream with the transition into the next stage of his elite racing career after the season-closing Valencia race.
‘Petrux’ is a skilled offroad rider in enduro and motocross but knows the discipline and demands of rally will be a big challenge.
Learning from some of the most successful racers in the sport, and experts from the KTM squad that has previously won an outstanding 18 successive Dakar victories, Petrucci has begun his rally preparation as he embarks on the challenge of a switch from MotoGP to the Dakar.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s 2018 Dakar winner and recently crowned FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Champion Matthias Walkner, two-time Dakar champion Toby Price, and reigning Dakar champion Kevin Benavides will be on-hand in the KTM stable to help the MotoGP star make his transition to the sport.
“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,” said Petrucci.
‘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.”