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Petrucci opens up on pre-Dakar KTM "issues" as 2022 plans change

Ex-MotoGP rider Danilo Petrucci says his 2022 plans following his sensational Dakar Rally debut have changed as a result of "some issues" with KTM ahead of the rally raid.

#90 Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing: Danilo Petrucci

Having lost his Tech 3 KTM ride in MotoGP at the end of 2021, bringing to an end a 10-year stint in the premier class of grand prix racing that yielded two wins, Petrucci made a radical career shift to rallying and a maiden Dakar campaign with the Austrian manufacturer.

Despite numerous injury woes and an early technical issue, Petrucci stunned when he took victory in the fifth stage of the Dakar earlier this month, profiting from a six-minute penalty for Toby Price.

Petrucci had planned to compete in the rest of the FIM's rally-raid championship – of which the Dakar was the opening round – but is now set for a switch to MotoAmerica with Ducati as both himself and KTM "didn't really understand each other" on his 2022.

"My plan was to do this Dakar and then to do all the rally raid championship," he told Motorsport.com. "But already before the Dakar we had some issues with KTM, we did not really understand each other.

"So, for maybe the first time I think in my career I needed to think about first the human side of me, and I say 'okay, I want to do an experience and I want to try to live in another place. And especially I suffer quite a lot the lack of dialogue with KTM, with the factory. And I didn't expect this.

"For this reason, I said okay, maybe I can go to USA and have fun because my target was to recover my happiness riding a bike and in the last year in MotoGP I haven't [enjoyed].

"For this reason, I chose to go with rally. Then I understood that continuing with KTM during the rally raid championship [wasn't an option].

"So I needed to look around and I was I was immediately happy that my former bosses from Ducati pushed a lot for having me back.

"And so I said 'okay, I want to first on the human side to go on an Erasmus, live in another place, make an experience, have fun with not a lot of pressure, and enjoy what I love the most - riding the bike.

"But for sure at the moment, this is the first target because at the Dakar the key was that I was really, really having fun, both on the bike and off the bike.

"So, this is the target first: to go on the bike and feel the happiness."

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When pressed on his MotoAmerica plans, Petrucci says nothing is official yet but he is set to test at the Algarve International Circuit on a Ducati Panigale V4 R in February.

He also expressed his desire to come back to the Dakar in 2023 and compete for overall honours.

"For sure it will be a very good experience especially because even if I would have continued with rally, I would have moved to a place where I was able to go practising more with the Dakar bike," he added.

"And at the end, it appears this offer [for MotoAmerica] and I'm happy to see. But for sure I want to go to the Dakar also. So maybe at the end of the year, I will do the Morocco Rally and then a proper preparation for the Dakar of the next year."

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