The 2022 MotoAmerica season just reached its halfway point and former MotoGP rider Danilo Petrucci clings to an 11-point lead over reigning Superbike Champion Jake Gagne. At this point last year, the Italian rider was struggling to understand his new RC 16 machinery with the Tech3 KTM MotoGP team.
After wrapping up his final season in the Grand Prix paddock, Petrucci immediately started training for his first entry into the Dakar Rally. Number 9 put his world-class riding skills on display by winning stage 5 of the competition, but the grueling race also challenged the rider along the way. Following the Dakar Rally, Petrux lined up for his first MotoAmerica Superbike race at Texas’ Circuit of the Americas on April 8-10, 2022.
The Warhorse HSBK Ducati rider stormed to the front of the standings after taking two victories at the Grand Prix track, but veteran MotoAmerica riders have eaten into his lead since. Petrucci has also contended with several injuries throughout the season, especially following a crash at the Virginia International Raceway during the third round of the championship.
With nagging injuries and fatigue potentially impacting the rider’s second half of the MotoAmerica season, he revealed that he won’t put so much on his plate the next time around.
"I need to take a breath and take some rest,” admitted Petrucci, “For this reason I decided, a few days ago, not to go to the Dakar next year.”
Petrucci didn’t just break the Dakar news, though, he also divulged his plans to remain in the MotoAmerica Superbikes class for the 2023 season.
"The Dakar is too much, especially if I want to do this championship again next year,” Petrucci acknowledged. “Maybe [I will] come to the U.S.A. and try to rent a house, and I cannot do [the Dakar] again. It’s too difficult.”
While Petrucci intends to return to the States next year, Ducati’s top brass may have other plans in store should the Italian win the 2022 MotoAmerica Superbikes title.
“Our objective and his is to win this championship,” noted Ducati MotoGP chief Gigi Dall'Igna. “Once we have done that, we will surely think about the future and it is true that one of the options is to make him do the World Superbike Championship, but I would say that it is still early to talk about it.”
Sadly, we won’t get to see Danilo Petrucci taking on the 2023 Dakar Rally next year, but it seems like his year will still be plenty busy.
Sources: MotoAmerica, Moto.it, Motorsport