Danilo Petrucci mulls swapping MotoGP for Dakar Rally after KTM offer

Danilo Petrucci confirms he has received an attractive offer that could see him swap MotoGP for the dunes of the Dakar Rally with KTM

Danilo Petrucci - Tech 3 KTM

Danilo Petrucci has revealed he has received an offer from KTM to train for and compete in the gruelling Dakar Rally following the decision to axe him from its MotoGP line-up.

Last weekend, the amiable Italian was confirmed to have been dropped from Tech 3 Racing’s line-up for the 2022 MotoGP World Championship, with Petrucci and Iker Lecuona being replaced by Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez.

To make matters worse, KTM’s rather botched rushed announcement was announced mid-way through the Styrian MotoGP FP4 session, meaning Petrucci only discovered he was out of a ride when he saw it flash up on the international television feed.

It leaves Petrucci with precious few options on the MotoGP grid for 2022, though there is reportedly interest from former employers Ducati to hire him for a WorldSBK tilt.

To counter that, KTM has instead stepped in to suggest a more alternative racing option with an entry into the Dakar Rally. The plan would be for Petrucci to undergo training in 2022 ahead of a 2023 entry into one of the world’s most notoriously arduous events. 

Admitting he thought it was a joke at first, Petrucci says he is seriously considering the option.

“It’s true," Petrucci told reporters on Thursday "I think it was an idea from Mr Pierer [CEO and he proposed that to me on Saturday night. I thought he was joking but he was not because then we start to talk and with also Mr Trunkenpolz and Mr Kinigadner

“Two days ago Pit [Beirer] called me and repeated what they more or less told me on Saturday. There is this option and I am taking in my mind. I would always like to race there.

"He said they are ready for 2022 but they would send me there just to watch the panorama and the landscapes [next year] because they think it is quite dangerous if I go there straight to make the race and make a result.

"I would have one year to do training and to do some [rally] races and from 2023 maybe be more competitive. I was really, really happy to know that and it is one of the options for my future. For sure I really want to thank them for this kind offer."

If Petrucci does compete then he would be in good company with KTM, which has an extraordinary record on the event. The company won a consecutive 18 Dakar Rally titles between 2001 and 2019, though it is yet to win on the event's current route in Saudi Arabia.