Danilo Petrucci was dumped by KTM during the Styrian Grand Prix weekend. A press release aimed at formalizing Fernandez’s engagement in the Tech3 for 2022 was issued while Danilo was on the track for the MotoGP qualifications, without first having been notified by management. Rather inconsiderate behavior by the Austrian company that, among other things, also betrayed the words of Pit Beirer, the brand’s Motorsports Director.
Beirer had, in fact, made it clear several times that any decision would be taken after the two Austrian races, but things went quite different, and the statements he made to our colleagues at Speedweek are honestly perplexing. According to reports, the Managing Director of the Austrian group would have offered Danilo a chance to race off-road in 2022, giving free rein to a passion that the rider has never hidden, but which perhaps he intends to embrace later in his career.
“Danilo is an incredibly nice guy,” Pierer declared. “That’s why we want to keep him. He got an offer from me on Saturday night. He could race for us in the 2022 Dakar in Saudi Arabia. At first, he didn’t believe me! His bike would be branded with the Tech3 colors. Participating in the Dakar has always been his desire. He’s always told us so. With a project like this, we have some possibilities with him in terms of marketing and distribution in Italy. That would be a great marketing story. We won’t let Danilo go. We’ll tell our off-road manager, Robert Jonas, we need a fourth Dakar rider for our deal with Red Bull and Danilo could be the one.”
Stefan Pierer also made it clear that there’s no chance of seeing Danilo with KTM as tester, given that they’ve confirmed Pedrosa and Kallio.
“We confirmed Pedrosa and Kallio for 2022. Danilo is unlucky because, with his height of 184 cm, he’s too tall for today’s MotoGP.”
This statement could be taken in several ways. On one hand, KTM seems to want to make an elegant gesture, expressing the desire to keep Petrucci in the “family”. On the other, however, this is nothing compared to the words spent by Beirer, who repeatedly praised Danilo, only to then dismiss him in a fairly brutal manner. For Petrucci, the doors to the MotoGP appear to be armored right now.
Aprilia made an agreement with Vinales, while there’s no room for “expert” riders in Petronas after Valentino Rossi’s (almost disastrous) break. The Yamaha team wants to nurture young talents, so there’s no place for a veteran like Danilo, who actually still has a lot to offer in the MotoGP. Another direction would obviously be the one that would lead Danilo to the SBK, maybe as a Ducati official. A return of the prodigal son from a certain aspect but, right now, strongly questioned after Redding’s victory in Most, which raised the British rider’s quotations. If Danilo’s will is to get into the SBK, he certainly wouldn’t have too much difficulty in finding a competitive bike.
If, on the other hand, he were to really say ‘enough is enough’ with the track and dedicate himself to off-road, he knows he could build an important partnership with KTM. As they sometimes incorrectly say: there are no problems, only opportunities.