MotoGP race winner Danilo Petrucci mulls new offer that halts KTM, Dakar plan

Danilo Petrucci reveals he might stop plans to compete in the 2023 Dakar Rally with KTM in favour of a return to Ducati to compete in MotoAmerica

Danilo Petrucci - Tech 3 KTM

Danilo Petrucci has revealed he is considering an alternative offer from Ducati to race in the MotoAmerica Championship, a move that would bring an end to his aspirations to try the Dakar Rally with KTM.

The Italian is preparing for the final three rounds of his immediate MotoGP career after losing his seat with the Tech 3 KTM team, nine years after making his debut on the CRT-spec Ioda Racing bike.

Despite the controversial manner in which he lost his ride, discovering it via a notification on the world television feed during the Styrian MotoGP FP3 session, Petrucci had indicated he was in talks to remain within the KTM fold with a view to training for the gruelling 2023 Dakar Rally.

However, he has now revealed he has an offer to compete in the US-based MotoAmerica series with the HSBK Ducati team, a move that would see him exit KTM and end his Dakar aspirations.

“It’s an idea”, he told reporters during the Emilia Romagna MotoGP at Misano. “First I have to talk about it with KTM, since we already have a long-term project and in the end MotoAmerica excludes Dakar and vice versa. I will therefore have to make a decision.

“On the one hand there is Dakar, on the other MotoAmerica, which would lead me to change my life and live in another country. Do the safe thing or I do the other thing, since both projects are supported by manufacturers, therefore I cannot go around with an orange and red shirt. We will therefore see what happens.”

Ducati is currently looking for a high-profile replacement for WorldSBK race winner Loris Baz, who secured fourth in the overall standings with the HSBK team in 2021. The Frenchman was set to remain for 2022, but a podium-winning turn as a substitute at Go Eleven Ducati led to renewed interest that will see him race with Bonovo BMW for next year.

Petrucci has a close relationship with Ducati having scored two wins during a six-season stint with the manufacturer in MotoGP, though left under a cloud after learning prior to the 2020 season he would be dropped at the end of the year. 

He indicated an interest in the WorldSBK Championship but decided against it after failing to receive the factory team berth he was seeking.