Danilo Petrucci will start his new journey immediately after the end of the 2021 MotoGP season, as his entry into 2022 Dakar Rally with KTM is confirmed.

Having lost his Tech 3 Racing seat months ago, Petrucci decided to stay on with the KTM family albeit in a different form of racing. Despite having some apprehensions about it, the Italian had the dream of competing in off-road rallying, especially Dakar.

With his MotoGP future not looking bright, he started to plan out his off-road rallying career with KTM. While it is a big task to go straight up in Dakar without any prior off-road competition practice, Petrucci has an able team to support and guide him.

KTM boasts a line-up with Matthias Walkner, Toby Price and Kevin Benavides, who will on-site to help him with the transition along with team manager Jordi Viladoms. Petrucci already has had the taste of the 450 RALLY machine in a recent test in Dubai.

“For me it is really a dream come true to race the Dakar,” said Petrucci, who will enter the 2022 Dakar with the number 90 on his KTM bike. “It’s an event I’ve always wanted to do since I was a child when I was watching video tapes of the Dakar Rally from the 80s and 90s. Now, thanks to KTM, this dream is coming true.

“First, I would like to thank KTM for this great opportunity; I think I will be the only rider that in just over one month has competed in MotoGP and then the Dakar Rally – so it is with great pride that I go there. My main target is just to finish the race and enjoy it. The first approach was to have some road book training with Jordi, he competed in the race many times and finished on the podium, so he has been great in helping me learn this special art.

“I had my first taste of riding the KTM 450 RALLY recently at an initial test in the Dubai dunes, where I was with KTM’s Dakar champions and I was able to learn so much from them – it was great to see them riding, and they were super nice and helpful to me. I hope the training for the next month will be enough; for sure it will be a tough race, but I am excited,” summed up Petrucci.

At the same time, Pit Beirer added: “Danilo’s talent and his character means he is one of the few elite level guys that we believe can make this radical move from the asphalt to the dunes. It’s a great story for a great guy. We want to thank him for his professionalism and all his efforts as part of the Tech3 team in our MotoGP project and now it’s time for another ‘world’!”

Here’s 2022 Dakar route