Ex-MotoGP rider Danilo Petrucci mulling 2022 WorldSBK wildcards

Danilo Petrucci says he would be open to competing as a wildcard in the 2022 WorldSBK Championship to supplement his new MotoAmerica deal with Ducati

Danilo Petrucci - Warhorse HSBK Ducati
Danilo Petrucci - Warhorse HSBK Ducati

Danilo Petrucci says he would consider making his WorldSBK debut in 2022 as a wildcard as part of a new Superbike programme that will see him make his MotoAmerica debut this season.

The ex-MotoGP rider is renewing ties with Ducati this season as part of the factory-backed HSBK Warhorse team to compete in the domestic American series.

Making his debut aboard the Ducati Panigale V4 R at Portimao alongside other WorldSBK racers, Petrucci - who previously competed in the supporting SSTK 600 and 1000 classes prior to his MotoGP move - admits he would be interested in taking in international rounds in addition to his US commitments.

“Maybe it could be an option if the races are not on the same weekend,” he told the official WorldSBK website. “I would be happy to race in WorldSBK for some races. For sure, our target is to compete in MotoAmerica. 

“I have never raced in WorldSBK. I was in STK600 and STK1000, I was a test rider in WorldSBK always for Ducati, but I never did a race. I would be curious to participate in one round. It could be very, very fun. For sure, first our main target is the USA.”

Fresh from his headline-grabbing debut in the Dakar Rally, where he made history as the first MotoGP rider to score a stage win, Petrucci says he is excited by the prospect of heading stateside with Ducati.

“I’m really curious. I choose to go to the USA because it’ll be a lifetime experience to live there. I want to see how life is on a different continent. I was so happy that Ducati was pushing a lot to let me come back to the factory. 

“I’m so happy to ride this bike because it’s so nice. For sure, in the USA, the tracks will be new for me. We’ll see. We want to win there but it won’t be easy. We need a lot of testing and support from the factory. I’m happy to join the racing track again!”

Petrucci will get a good gauge of his WorldSBK potential in MotoAmerica since he is assuming the seat occupied by Loris Baz in 2021.

The Frenchman was a multiple podium winner en route to fourth in the standings on the Ducati and was due to remain with the team for another season. However, an impressive podium-winning turn towards the end of the WorldSBK season as a stand-in for the injured Chaz Davies led to renewed interest in Baz and a deal to race the Bonovo BMW in 2022.

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