Danilo Petrucci wins on MotoAmerica debut in front of MotoGP friends

Danilo Petrucci secures an emotional victory on his MotoAmerica debut at Circuit of The Americas right in front of his former MotoGP rivals

Danilo Petrucci - Dark Horse HSBK Ducati, MotoAmerica

Danilo Petrucci enjoyed a fairytale start to life as a superbike racer with a poignant victory on his MotoAmerica debut in full view of his former MotoGP rivals at Circuit of The Americas.

One of the headline attractions of the Grand Prix of The Americas as MotoAmerica joined the MotoGP support package in Texas this weekend, Petrucci wrote a feelgood story with a fine performance on his much anticipated debut aboard the factory-backed Dark Horse HSBK Ducati Panigale V4 R.

From third position on the grid, Petrucci worked his way into the lead on lap four before protecting his advantage over Mathew Scholtz all the way to the chequered flag, in so doing becoming the first rider to win on their MotoAmerica debut since fellow MotoGP alumni Toni Elias in 2016.

Cheered home by many of his former colleagues, victory in the USA adds another highlight to what is becoming a memorable 2022 campaign for the Italian following his show-stopping performance on his Dakar Rally debut in January.

Romping to victory despite admitting he has been beset by a catalogue of fitness issues since his gruelling rally-raid debut, Petrucci was delighted to make an instant mark, calling his decision to go Stateside ‘one of the best choices’ of his career.

“For me, really the target was to be on the podium because these guys and also Jake (Gagne) are really, really fast,” the two-time MotoGP race winner said. “Especially since not generally 2022, but since generally 2021 that I’m racing. I did a MotoGP season then I went testing in Dakar. 

“I broke my ankle. I went to Dakar. I did the Dakar, and I broke again the ankle, the collarbone, and the radius. I come back home, and I was really, really tired. I haven’t had the chance to train. When I was better one month ago, I took my motocross bike and I crashed again, and I broke my ligament. I almost forgot how I can run. I feel like I got the legs of another man. 

“But I am happy. I’m not physically fit, but I tried to stay there. I tried to push. In the first part of the track, I was really, really struggling. Then I tried to manage it. 

“For sure, I’m really, really happy to be here racing with these guys. The atmosphere is really, really nice. It’s true that coming to MotoAmerica is one of the best choices I have ever made.”