Danilo Petrucci to get KTM lifeline if Pol Espargaro leaves for Honda?

Danilo Petrucci reveals KTM is now on his radar amid talk that Pol Espargaro is on his way to Repsol Honda for the 2021 MotoGP season

Danilo Petrucci - Ducati Corse MotoGP

Danilo Petrucci has revealed he will target a move to KTM for the 2021 MotoGP World Championship amid talk Pol Espargaro is close to agreeing a deal that will take him to the Repsol Honda team next season.

The Italian will be frozen out of Ducati’s line-up at the end of the 2020 season when he is replaced by Jack Miller. Though Ducati itself yet to formally reveal who will line-up alongside the Australian next year, Petrucci has already confirmed himself that he won’t remain with the team in 2021.

Though he has been closely-linked with a switch to Ducati’s WorldSBK squad, Petrucci says his target is to remain in MotoGP with Aprilia initially emerging as the most likely destination.

However, with the team choosing to wait on a decision over whether Andrea Iannone gets his drugs suspension reduced or quashed, Petrucci hopes of moving could ultimately be dashed.

"Plan A is to remain in MotoGP," Petrucci told SkySport.it. "For many years we have tried to find an agreement with Aprilia but the choice of continuity [with Ducati] prevailed, which starting from the bottom led me to the Official team.

"There has been a lot of interest in [Aprilia's] new bike. But they too are experiencing a very delicate situation with riders.

"Aleix [Espargaro] deserves the renewal and there is the Iannone question, which nobody knows how it will end. I respect Andrea very much, so I would be sorry if his place is freed up because of a sentence."

Nonetheless, a different opportunity could still arise at KTM following fevered speculation that Espargaro will swap to Honda next season alongside champion Marc Marquez. Should this prove correct, the Austrian team will lose its only experienced rider so will be looking to replace him like-for-like.

With this in mind, Petrucci – who made his MotoGP debut in 2012 - believes he would be the ideal candidate, not least because he sees the appeal of helping a burgeoning project flourish.

“The news about Pol Espargaro in Honda opens up a different scenario. I would like to go to Aprilia [or] KTM, because they are also on a growing trend. In fact, Pol Espargaro's decision to leave is a little surprising, since he was the cornerstone of the project.

"But they are two brands that could take advantage of my experience, since I have been in MotoGP for a few years. And I'd like to join a growing project.

"KTM managed to take a podium, Aprilia still hasn't, but they are two brands that want to get to the top and I would like to race with one of the two."