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KTM confirms 2022 Dakar Rally debut for Petrucci

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Petrucci will carry the colors of Tech3 – the squad with which he raced for in MotoGP this 12 months – on his KTM 450 Rally bike as he makes a change to cross-country rallying after a profession spent largely in circuit racing.

The 31-year-old has already accomplished a check on desert terrain underneath the watchful eye of KTM’s Rally Sport Supervisor Jordi Viladoms and can proceed to hone his navigational and using abilities earlier than his maiden Dakar try.

KTM mentioned its present roster of rally riders together with previous champions Toby Price, Matthias Walkner and Kevin Benavides will likely be readily available to assist Petrucci make a transition to rally-raids.

“For me it’s actually a dream come true to race the Dakar,” mentioned Petrucci. “It’s an occasion I’ve at all times wished to do since I used to be a toddler once I was watching video tapes of the Dakar Rally from the 80s and 90s. 

“Now, because of KTM, this dream is coming true. First, I want to thank KTM for this nice alternative; I feel I would be the solely rider that in simply over one month has competed in MotoGP after which the Dakar Rally – so it’s with nice pleasure that I am going there. 

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“My foremost goal is simply to complete the race and luxuriate in it. The primary strategy was to have some highway e book coaching with Jordi, he competed within the race many instances and completed on the rostrum, so he has been nice in serving to me be taught this particular artwork. 

“I had my first style of using the KTM 450 Rally lately at an preliminary check within the Dubai dunes, the place I used to be with KTM’s Dakar champions and I used to be capable of be taught a lot from them – it was nice to see them using, and so they had been tremendous good and useful to me. 

“I hope the coaching for the subsequent month will likely be sufficient; for positive it is going to be a troublesome race, however I’m excited.”

Danilo Petrucci, KTM Tech3

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Petrucci had been contemplating competing within the Dakar Rally ever because it turned clear his place at Tech3 was doubtful.

Autosport reported in August that KTM would be willing to support a potential rally bid from Petrucci – and this has now been confirmed with lower than two months to go till the beginning of the 2022 version of the occasion in Saudi Arabia.

“Danilo’s expertise and his character means he is likely one of the few elite degree guys that we imagine could make this radical transfer from the asphalt to the dunes,” KTM motorsport boss Pit Beirer mentioned.

“It’s a fantastic story for a fantastic man. We need to thank him for his professionalism and all his efforts as a part of the Tech3 group in our MotoGP undertaking and now it’s time for one more ‘world’!”

KTM loved an unprecedented streak of 18 victories in Dakar on the flip of the century earlier than it was damaged by Honda on the rally-raid’s transfer to Saudi Arabia in 2020, with the Japanese producer once more successful within the bikes class this 12 months.

The 2022 Dakar Rally, the third to happen solely within the Gulf nation, will run from January 2-14 with riders overlaying a distance of roughly 8,000km.

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