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MotoGP Thailand GP

Petrucci to make surprise MotoGP comeback with Suzuki in Thailand

Double MotoGP race winner Danilo Petrucci will make a surprise return to the series at the Thailand Grand Prix as Joan Mir’s replacement.

Danilo Petrucci

Mir, the 2020 MotoGP world champion, has been out of action since breaking his ankle in a lap one crash at the Austrian Grand Prix in August.

Sitting out the Misano round, Mir attempted to ride at Aragon but withdrew after Saturday and sat out last weekend’s Japanese GP too.

It was thought he would return for this weekend’s Thailand GP, but the recovery of his right ankle is taking longer than expected and he will now aim to be back on his Suzuki at the Australian GP in two weeks’ time. Instead, Suzuki has confirmed Mir will be replaced by ex-Ducati rider Petrucci.

“Needless to say, I’m so happy for the chance to race in Thailand with Team Suzuki Ecstar," Petrucci said. "I want to thank the team for giving me this fantastic opportunity.

"I also want to thank Ducati and my current team management for letting me take this stand-in ride. I’m really curious to jump on the GSX-RR and try it, it looks very fast and we know it’s a winning machine.

"I’m also eager to work with the Suzuki crew, that I’ve known for a long time now and we have a wonderful relationship. I know it won’t be easy, so I’m not putting any expectations on the experience, I just want to enjoy it.

"I’m also excited to be one of the few riders in history jumping from a MotoGP machine to a Dakar bike, a Superbike, then another factory MotoGP bike!”

Danilo Petrucci, Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC

Danilo Petrucci, Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC

Photo by: Brian J. Nelson

Petrucci made his MotoGP debut in 2012 and rose from a back-of-the-grid seat at Ioda on a CRT-spec machine to the factory Ducati squad in 2019. The Italian won twice in his tenure with Ducati before moving to Tech 3 KTM for 2021.

But a difficult season and desire from KTM to field its own up-and-coming riders in Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez led to Petrucci losing his place on the MotoGP grid. He remained with KTM for a maiden assault on the Dakar Rally, which yielded a stage win despite carrying injury into the event.

Petrucci had expected to continue with KTM to embark on a full rally raid programme in 2022, but this fell through and the Italian linked up with Ducati again to move to the MotoAmerica Superbike championship. He won five races for the Warhorse Ducati squad aboard a Panigale V4 and took the championship battle down to the wire in his first season.

Petrucci was asked by Suzuki to replace Mir at the San Marino Grand Prix earlier this month, but he elected to focus on his MotoAmerica title battle instead.

Suzuki brought in Japan Superbike racer Kazuki Watanabe as Mir’s stand-in at Misano, while test rider Takuya Tsuda was upgraded from wildcard status to fill in for Mir last weekend at Motegi.

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