Ex-MotoGP rider turned rally raider Danilo Petrucci insists his much anticipated debut on the 2022 Dakar Rally will go ahead, despite sustaining a ‘bone rupture’ in his ankle during training for the gruelling endurance event.
The two-time MotoGP race winner is the star attraction for the historic Saudi Arabian event having decided to bring forward plans to contest the Dakar with KTM from 2023 to January 2022.
Having only just called time on his MotoGP career – where he competed with Ducati and most recently Tech 3 KTM – Petrucci has been training hard to mitigate the tight turnaround from short circuit racing to rally raiding.
However, his preparations have been dealt a blow after suffering an injury while riding the bike itself in Saudi Arabia, Petrucci hitting a bump and landing in a ‘really deep hole’ with the subsequent compression leading to a ‘small fracture of the right ankle’.
“I drove in the middle of the dunes and was traveling slowly because I was ‘off piste’, that is, in deep sand,” he told Speedweek. “There was a little bump, then I clearly saw the continuation of the path again.
“But after the small bump there was a really deep hole and I crashed hard on the bike when landing. I put a lot of force on the footrests, and this heavy compression caused a small fracture on the right fibula.
Despite the injury, Petrucci says it hasn’t derailed his plans to race, even though fitness training is now compromised, adding he now cannot go for a run and had to return home.
“I had to fly home because I injured my right ankle. That was painful, but it won’t jeopardize my participation in the Dakar. This bone rupture is not going to compromise my Dakar debut. I don’t go jogging so far, but I cycle on the roller and can continue my fitness training at home unhindered. “
“Fortunately, the break has not been postponed; therefore no operation has been carried out. I just have to keep my ankle moving, but I shouldn’t put too much weight on it. That’s why I don’t go for a run.”