Bastianini to miss French MotoGP, Petrucci to fill-in

Enea Bastianini will miss next weekend's French MotoGP, and will be replaced by former Ducati MotoGP rider Danilo Petrucci.

Danilo Petrucci, 2020 MotoGP Portuguese Grand Prix. - Gold and Goose

Enea Bastianini will miss next weekend’s French MotoGP, and will be replaced in the factory Ducati team by WorldSBK rider Danilo Petrucci.

Bastianini’s absence from the 2023 French Grand Prix, scheduled for 12-14 May, will see the return of one of his predecessors in the factory team, Danilo Petrucci, who will race his first GP since last October. 

Then, Petrucci was racing for the factory Suzuki team in place of Joan Mir. Petrucci’s temporary return to Grands Prix in Le Mans will be his first time on a prototype motorcycle since then, and his first time racing a Desmosedici GP since the final round of the 2020 MotoGP World Championship in Portimao. 

Enea Bastianini said: "I am sorry that I will not be able to participate in the French GP in Le Mans, where I took a fantastic victory last year, but, unfortunately, I am still not fully recovered. After Le Mans, the World Championship will have a three-week stop during which I will do everything I can to recover in time for my home round at Mugello, scheduled for June."

Bastianini’s absence confirms that the Italian will head to his home Grand Prix in Mugello, scheduled for 9-11 June, having not scored a point this year in the World Championship, having been injured in the Portuguese MotoGP Sprint back in March.

The #23 tried to return to action last weekend at the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez, but was unable to complete the weekend after struggling with pain and a lack of strength on Friday.

Danilo Petrucci said: "I am thrilled to be back racing in MotoGP, although I am sorry that Enea has to miss another race. In Le Mans with the Desmosedici GP, I won my last race in MotoGP. It will be an honour to be able to try the World Champion bike and wear the suit that I won with in the past. 

“It is an indescribable emotion, and I can't wait to get back on track with the Ducati Lenovo Team. Thanks to Barni for letting me take this opportunity and to Ducati for thinking of me!"

A two-time Grand Prix winner with Ducati, firstly in Mugello in 2019 and secondly in Le Mans in 2020, Petrucci is chosen here over Michele Pirro, who replaced Bastianini at the Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, Texas, last month.

This weekend, Petrucci is racing in the Catalan round of the 2023 WorldSBK championship at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, where he races for Ducati in the Barni Racing team. The #9 finished day one in Catalunya in 10th place.

The news of Bastianini's absence from Le Mans next weekend comes after RNF Aprilia's announcement that Miguel Oliveira will also miss the French Grand Prix due to injuries sustained in his crash in last weekend's Spanish Grand Prix. Oliveira will be replaced by Aprilia MotoGP test rider Lorenzo Savadori.

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