Andrea Dovizioso may be a lifelong fan of off-road racing, but even he won’t be following in the wheeltracks of friend and former Ducati MotoGP team-mate Danilo Petrucci by taking on the Dakar Rally.
Forced out of MotoGP after losing his Tech3 KTM ride at the end of last season, Petrucci surprised the motorcycling world by selecting the Dakar as his next challenge.
After an early technical problem took him out of the overall running, Petrucci struggled to control his emotions when he then made history as the first MotoGP rider to win a Dakar stage.
“No, no! I’m quite crazy, but not like him!” Dovizioso said, when asked if he might be tempted to enter the event.
“I know Danilo and I know how strong and fast he is in motocross, also because he beat me easily! But he still surprised me because I didn’t expect that result in the Dakar.
“So he did something crazy and I think his [emotional] reaction was huge because I think he always felt like a kind of ‘black sheep’! He wanted to achieve a lot [more in MotoGP] but he struggled [with his size] and then he was able to achieve that special thing [in the Dakar].
“Also, when you ride for more than 500km in one day, you are completely finished. So when you make that kind of special result, in that situation, for sure the emotion is like what we saw from the interviews.
“I was really happy for him and I texted him because he deserved it.”
Following the historic stage win, Petrucci also reached his target of completing the grueling 14-day Saudi Arabian adventure at his first attempt.
While the double MotoGP race winner is now set to take on MotoAmerica, Dovizioso – who like Petrucci left the factory Ducati team at the end of 2020 – is preparing for his debut season at the new RNF Yamaha squad.