“The hardest thing in my life”

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“I’m very happy that I’ve reached my goal and achieved a personal goal in life,” said Danilo Petrucci after his first Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia. The former MotoGP winner caused a sensation by winning stage five.

But the Italian also saw the tough side of the rally. During the second stage, Petrucci was stranded in the desert due to a technical problem. That’s why he had to interrupt the day and was taken to the bivouac by helicopter.

He had also lost his personal valuables such as smartphone, cash and passport somewhere. “Petrux” was allowed to continue the race. He received several penalty hours for the aborted stage.

Aside from his stage win, eleventh place was his best result after stage ten. Petrucci was plagued by technical issues on several occasions, causing his KTM to keep stopping. He also sustained injuries from falls.

The Dakar newcomer also fell off his KTM a few times

Photo: KTM

At the finish, the 31-year-old had a bandaged left hand. The right shoulder was also taped. There was also a bandage on the open left elbow and also on the right foot. The second week in particular was tough for Petrucci.

The eleventh stage has been called the “queen’s stage”. Petrucci had a fall, hitting his right shoulder. At first he thought he was injured, but he gritted his teeth and continued running.

“It was very tough, one of the toughest things I’ve ever done in my life,” he says after this “queening stage”. “After just four kilometers I got lost with other riders. There were a lot of dunes that were very soft. The bike sank in the sand.”

“I’ve never seen that before. Then we landed in the middle of a sandstorm. It was very difficult to find the right direction because you couldn’t see anything.” Nevertheless, Petrucci finished this penultimate day in 16th place.

On the final day there was a problem with the rear shock absorber. That’s why Petrucci fell again and hit his left hand. That’s why the Italian could be seen at the finish with the bandage on his left hand.

“I’m very satisfied with my performance, but I’ve fallen several times in the past few days,” Petrucci concludes. “That’s why I feel really exhausted. It was still incredible and the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

In the final result of the motorcycles, Petrucci was found in 90th place.

Danilo Petrucci’s daily results:

Stage 1: 13.

Stage 2: 139 (quest)

Stage 3: 22.

Stage 4: 15.

Stage 5: 1.

Stage 6: 39.

Stage 7: 44.

Stage 8: 25.

Stage 9: 17.

Stage 10: 11.

Stage 11: 16.

Stage 12: 34.

With images from KTM.

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