Danilo Petrucci to make surprise MotoGP return in Thailand

Two-time race winner and fan favourite Danilo Petrucci will be back on the MotoGP grid in Thailand after accepting a call up from Suzuki to replace Joan Mir

Danilo Petrucci - Tech 3 KTM
Danilo Petrucci - Tech 3 KTM

Danilo Petrucci will make a surprise return to the MotoGP World Championship grid after being called up as the latest substitute for the injured Joan Mir at Team Suzuki Ecstar.

The Italian, who completed his rookie campaign in the MotoAmerica Superbike series over the weekend, joins Alex Rins in the title-winning team after Mir was advised to sit out a fourth race in succession.

A two-time MotoGP race winner and firm fan favourite, Petrucci bid farewell to the premier class at the conclusion of the 2021 season having amassed 169 MotoGP starts, the majority of which occurring during a six-year stint with Ducati.

After being dropped by KTM after just a single season to bring an abrupt end to his MotoGP career last year, Petrucci has embarked on something of a career overhaul in 2022, beginning with a headline grabbing - and even stage winning - turn in the Dakar Rally before accepting a deal to head up Ducati’s efforts in MotoAmerica.

Locked in a fierce season long tussle with defending champion Jake Gagne on the dominant factory Yamaha, while Petrucci took the title fight down to the wire at Medalia this weekend, he couldn’t stop the American from retaining his crown.

Nevertheless, Petrucci won’t have time to dwell on this after accepting Suzuki’s call to race in Buriram - having previously turned down its offer to race in Misano too - for what will be the first MotoGP race held in Thailand at the Chang International Circuit since 2019. 

“Needless to say, I’m so happy for the chance to race in Thailand with Team Suzuki Ecstar. I want to thank the Team for giving me this fantastic opportunity. I also want to thank Ducati and my current team management for letting me take this stand-in ride. 

“I’m really curious to jump on the GSX-RR and try it, it looks very fast and we know it’s a winning machine. I’m also eager to work with the Suzuki crew, that I’ve known for a long time now and we have a wonderful relationship. 

“I know it won’t be easy, so I’m not putting any expectations on the experience, I just want to enjoy it. I’m also excited to be one of the few riders in history jumping from a MotoGP machine to a Dakar bike, a Superbike, then another factory MotoGP bike!” 

While Petrucci faces a tall order to get back up to speed this weekend, he does have more knowledge of the Buriram venue than the majority of the riders around him.

Moreover, it isn’t beyond Petrucci to deliver a result that at least exceed a torrid run of form that has affected Suzuki ever since the bombshell decision by company bosses to quit the series at the end of the year.

Coming to Thailand fresh from a fourth double DNF non-score of the year, Suzuki has not come cloe to the podium since Rins’ third place finish during Round 4 at the United States MotoGP.

Sponsored Content