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Danilo Petrucci weighs up WorldSBK future amid MotoGP uncertainty

Danilo Petrucci is looking towards a WorldSBK Championship future as KTM weighs up replacing him with Raul Fernandez for the 2022 MotoGP season

Danilo Petrucci - Tech 3 KTM


Danilo Petrucci could become the latest MotoGP rider to swap to the WorldSBK Championship if he loses out on the chance to remain with Tech 3 KTM for next season.

The Italian joined KTM in the wake of exiting the Ducati fold at the end of a six season stint that yielded two wins and nine podiums.

However, with Tech 3 slipping behind the Factory team in terms of receiving fresh parts, Petrucci has struggled to match the pace of Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira on the official RC16, with a best finish of fifth place in the damp at Le Mans.

For a time it appeared Petrucci would be in direct competition with current team-mate Iker Lecuona for the sole vacant Tech 3 seat alongside the already confirmed Remy Gardner.

However, it is understood KTM is weighing up the possibility of filling that berth with Raul Fernandez, both as a reward for his impressive rookie Moto2 season and to halt an approach from Yamaha to place him in the Petronas SRT team.

If Fernandez doesn’t land the ride then Petrucci stands as the man more likely to get the seat over Lecuona. However, with seats on the WorldSBK grid now beginning to fill too, Petrucci will be keen not to lose out there as well.

Which team could Danilo Petrucci join in WorldSBK?

While GPOne reports he has two offers on the table from WorldSBK teams, it isn’t clear where he could end up. 

As it stands, Ducati - who offered him a WorldSBK seat for 2021 before signing for KTM - could be an option but is thought to be deep into negotiations with Scott Redding. However, it isn’t certain whether the Briton, who has fallen away in the title fight, is also looking elsewhere for 2022. 

Kawasaki is likely to retain Alex Lowes alongside Jonathan Rea, while Yamaha has one rider confirmed in Toprak Razgatlioglu and it seems keen to foster the talents of Andrea Locatelli despite a difficult start to life in WorldSBK. Alternatively, Petrucci could find himself on the GRT Yamaha using works machinery if Garrett Gerloff lands a Petronas SRT Yamaha ride.

BMW is expected to prefer continuity with Michael van der Mark and Tom Sykes, but Honda could be an option if it decides not to continue with Leon Haslam or Alvaro Bautista, who is thought to be the best paid rider on the grid but has struggled to make an impression since joining the outfit.

There are also satellite options but Petrucci - having been a MotoGP race winner as recently as 2020 - might be deterred, particularly as the last rider to join WorldSBK from the top flight, Tito Rabat, has endured a tricky time on the Barni Ducati.

Then again, Barni is a team Petrucci has experience with having competed with the team in the Superstock 1000 series back in 2011. Indeed, Petrucci is fairly unusual in that he reached a peak in MotoGP via the production route, even if he has never raced in Superbikes before.