The KTM Factory Racing Rally Team made the official announcement welcoming a “high profile rookie”, the MotoGP rider Danilo Petrucci, who will jump from the seat of the KTM RC16 to that of the KTM 450 Rally, to participate in the Dakar which will start next January.
According to the press release, the speeds remain high and the adrenaline still flows generously, but the 31-year-old Italian rider will swap his full-face helmet for an enduro mask, and the scrapers on his knees with protections, when he gets on his rally bike. with the colors of the Tech 3 KTM Favtory Racing.
Petrucci, who has achieved 10 podiums and two MotoGP victories in 10 seasons, will fulfill his lifelong dream by moving to the next stage of his racing career after the end of this MotoGP season which will see the final act in Valencia on Sunday 14 November. “Petrux”, as he is nicknamed, he is an excellent enduro and motocross riderbut he also knows that the level of discipline and demands of rally racing will be a big challenge for him.
Having worked closely with some of KTM’s top rally drivers who have brought 18 victories to the factory, Danilo has already begun his preparations. Matthias Walkner, winner of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing until 2018 and recently named FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Champion. They are joined by the two-time winner of the Dakar Toby Price and the Dakar champion Kevin Benavides, that they will be in the KTM garage to help Petrucci complete this “asphalt to sand” transition successfully.
Pit Beirer, director of KTM’s motorsport division, commented “Danilo’s character and talent make him one of the few top riders who can make the transition from asphalt to dunes. It’s a great story for a great guy. We want to thank him for his professionalism and for all his efforts as part of the Tech3 team in our MotoGP project, but now it’s time for another one ”.
Petrucci has already had a taste of the desert on the KTM 450 Rally, as regards the demanding skills necessary to drive on various types of funds, which happened during the recent tests and under the gaze of the race director KTM Rally, Jordi Viladoms, former Dakar driver who boasts many career successes.
Danilo Petrucci fulfills the dream of participating in the Dakar
After “breaking the lines” of the season in MotoGP, Danilo will be fully engaged in training and navigation courses, in order to be ready for the demanding 14-day race which is spread over almost 8000 km, and which will officially start the January 1st.
And the driver originally from Terni can’t wait to face the dunes and the dangers of the Dakar: “Racing the Dakar is a dream come true for me. I have always wanted to participate in this event since I was a child, when I watched the videotapes of the Dakar from the 80s and 90s. Now thanks to KTM this dream is coming true and I want to thank them for the great opportunity. I think I’ll be the only rider to go from MotoGP to Dakar in just over a month and this will be a great pride ”.