Ducati considering ex-MotoGP rider Petrucci for 2023 WSBK season

Ducati has revealed that it could place Danilo Petrucci in the World Superbike Championship in 2023, as it remains keen to retain the ex-MotoGP rider in its ranks for another year.

Ducati considering ex-MotoGP rider Petrucci for 2023 WSBK season
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Petrucci was planning to contest a full season in cross-country rallying this year with his former MotoGP employer KTM, but his campaign was cut short after the Dakar Rally in January despite the Italian rider picking up a stage win as a rookie aboard one of its factory bikes.

This opened up the door for Petrucci to reunite with Ducati and join MotoAmerica, where he is currently leading the championship by 13 points over Yamaha’s Mathew Scholtz after the opening four rounds of the 10-round championship.

Ducati MotoGP chief Gigi Dall'Igna stressed that winning the title in MotoAmerica with Petrucci remains their primary goal as of now, but he will evaluate WSBK as the next step in the Italian’s career for the 2023 season.

While Alvaro Bautista is expected to stay at Ducati’s factory WSBK team next year as its de facto leader, the future of his teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi is less secure following a underwhelming start to his second season with the outfit.

"For us, Danilo is an important driver, America is an important championship and we are working to give him the best possible support in this championship too,” said Dall'Igna, who was present at the Misano WSBK round last weekend.

“Our objective and his is to win this championship. 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.”

Danilo Petrucci, Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC

Danilo Petrucci, Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC

Photo by: Brian J. Nelson

Petrucci has been rumoured to make a wildcard WSBK outing with Ducati at Portimao on October 7-9, a few weeks after the final round of the MotoAmerica season in late September, to prepare for a potential full campaign with the squad next year.

Asked about the possibility of Petrucci getting a chance to dip his toes in WSBK in the Portuguese round of the championship later this year, Dall'igna said: "I do not deny [this]. Nothing is yet defined and it is not yet established that it will be done. But it is true that's an interesting prospect that we'll be thinking about."

Petrucci was a part of Ducati’s MotoGP roster from 2015-20, initially with satellite squad Pramac and then with the factory team, and scored a memorable first win on the Italian manufacturer’s home turf in Mugello in 2019.

He again won at Le Mans the following year before joining KTM in 2021 for what would turn out to be his last year in the premier class.

"Danilo is an interesting driver for many reasons, many aspects,” said Dall'Igna. “He is a rider who has been linked to Ducati for a long time, he has done very good things with us. 

“I repeat it once again, because it is true: every time I think back to his MotoGP victory at Mugello, I am moved because it was something very beautiful, fantastic."

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