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Although it was a very poorly kept secret, it is official. Danilo Petrucci is going to embark at the next Dakar rally, which starts on January 2 in Saudi Arabia, and it will do so at the controls of a KTM. The Italian rider thus definitively disassociates himself from MotoGP to focus on his other passion: raids.
Petrucci has already been testing the KTM 450 Rally With which he will participate in the Dakar, wearing the colors of Tech3, his current MotoGP team. In the presentation we were able to learn more about the six-week program that Petrucci intends to prepare for, at least, to be able to finish the Dakar next January.
Petrucci faces a month of training to finish the Dakar
"For me it is really a dream come true to race the Dakar. It is an event that I always wanted to do since I was a child when I watched videos of the Dakar Rally of the 80s and 90s. Now, thanks to KTM, this dream comes true ", Petrucci commented in the official presentation of his Dakar program.
Petrucci has already participated in several tests that have helped him to get used to what a motorcycle rally is, but now he has to do a specific preparation for the Dakar, starting with knowing how to interpret the roadbook, something that he himself confessed that it is costing him in these early days.
"I would like to thank KTM for this great opportunity; I think I will be the only rider who in just over a month he has competed in MotoGP and then in the Dakar Rally, so it is a great pride. My main objective is to finish the race and enjoy it. I'm having a hard time learning the difficult art of the roadbook, "said Petrucci.
Along with him were the three official KTM riders, Matthias Walkner, Toby Price and Kevin Benavides, in addition to Jordi Viladoms, the sporting director of the KTM team which is being the main support of Petrucci to face these 8,000 km and 14 stages of the Dakar 2022.
"I had my first with the KTM 450 RALLY recently in a test in the dunes of Dubai, where I was with the KTM Dakar champions and I was able to learn a lot from them; It was great to see them pilot, and they were very nice to me. It will be a tough race for sure, but I'm excited. I hope that a month's training will be enough, "concluded the Italian.
What is not entirely clear is whether Petrucci is completely disassociating himself from MotoGP or if he will continue to do test work at KTMNow that Mika Kallio looks like she's going to leave him. In any case, his days as a starter in MotoGP end after ten seasons, ten podiums and two victories. A new world begins.