Danilo Petrucci: The bitter end of the Dakar with KTM

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The technical problems at the Dakar Rally for Danilo Petrucci (Tech3-KTM) continued on the final day. Total loss of the rear wheel suspension, suspected dislocation of the left wrist.

After the electrical defect on Monday last week, Danilo Petrucci had to have his Tech3-KTM brought to the bivouac by helicopter, but thanks to a joker he was allowed to continue the rally outside of the classification – as was his KTM colleague Kevin Benavides later.

Petrucci then sensationally won a stage and often caused people to sit up and take notice with amazing results on other days, although his bike stalled on two more days, once because the battery had loosened. At the beginning of the week, he only reached the finish line on a colleague’s tow rope. And yesterday the Italian only finished 31st because his rear suspension was totaled. He rode to the finish line on a hard-tail bike, so to speak!

“As a result, I fell badly and probably suffered a dislocated left wrist,” Petrucci explained in an interview with SPEEDWEEK.com. “I’m running out of words. I can only hope that my wrist injury will not have any long-term consequences. I’m really upset.”

Petrucci’s initial enthusiasm for the Dakar opportunity with KTM has visibly evaporated. In terms of speed, as a debutant he could have been in the top 10 to top 15 with a more reliable motorcycle.

“I could have been the best rookie and best driver in the Rally 2 classification,” Petrucci is convinced.

“I’m glad that I’ve at least made it to the finish line,” said Danilo. “That was a goal I’ve been pursuing from the start. But it was a tough time, it started with the ankle fracture in the dunes during Dakar practice in early December. After that, the positive PCR test happened after arriving in Saudi Arabia on December 28th. That was a stressful time. Nevertheless, I remember this Dakar as an unforgettable experience. I’m satisfied with my driving performance. But unfortunately the engine suddenly stopped on three days. If something like that happens to me while jumping over a dune, it can end badly. One thing is undisputed: the Dakar is one of the toughest things I have ever done.”

Petrucci revealed before the start of the Dakar that he will decide during the rally whether he will negotiate again with KTM for 2022. It should be discussed whether a continuation of his rally career makes sense and whether it could possibly be combined with a role as a MotoGP reserve rider.

But one can imagine that the decision has now been made. Petrucci will most likely contest the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship in 2022 with Ducati and the “Team Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York”, succeeding Loris Baz. “Petrux” wants to use this series as a springboard for the 2023 Superbike World Championship. Because he knows: Compatriot Max Biaggi became Superbike World Champion at the age of 42.

It remains a mystery why Petrucci of all people was so often let down by the otherwise stable KTM 450 Rally at the Dakar. Apparently the technical support was not on the level of Red Bull KTM and the factory teams from GASGAS and Husqvarna. Petrucci was sometimes heard: “We didn’t expect you to be so quick.”

Calendar MotoAmerica Superbike 2022

March 10: Daytona, Fla
April 08: COTA, Austin
April 22 Braselton, Giorgia
May 20: Danville, Virginia
June 03: Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
June 24: Shelton, Washington
July 8: Laguna Seca, California
July 29: Brainerd Lake, Montana
August 19: Wampum, Pa
September 9: Milville. new York
September 23: Birmingham, Alabama

Results Stage 12 of the 2022 Dakar Rally

1. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Honda, 1:40:00
2. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 1:40:18, +0:18 min
3. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (CHI), Honda, 1:40:29, +0:29 min
4. Joan Barreda (ESP), Honda, 1:41:13, +1:13 min
5. Mason Klein (USA), KTM, 1:41:23, +1:23 min
Further:
7. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 1:42:57, +2:57
11. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 1:45:08, +5:08
31. Danilo Petrucci (ITA), KTM, 1:55:35, +15:35

Total result Dakar Rally 2022 after 12 stages

1. Sam Sunderland (GBR), GASGAS, 38:47:30
2. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Honda, 38:50:57, +3:27 min
3. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 38:54:17, +6:47 min
4. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 39:06:11, +18:41min
5. Joan Barreda (ESP), Honda, 39:13:12, +25:42
Further:
9. Mason Klein (USA), KTM, 39:36:37, +49:07
10. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 39:36:50, +49:20

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