A somewhat battered and bruised Danilo Petrucci found the finish line on Friday as he completed his Dakar debut.
Petrucci put on an impressive performance throughout the two week ordeal, just two months since swapping MotoGP for the off road endurance event but was downbeat on his 34th place, stage 12 conclusion. The Italian having fallen just three kms from the end of the day’s 164kms special, damaging his left wrist and his Tech3 KTM 450 RALLY’s rear suspension in the process.
He shouldn’t be, of course, after a stunning stage win on his first ever competitive rally-raid appearance and a consistent display of speed and skill across the fortnight.
Petrucci’s goal was to complete the arduous race, one he achieved on only the first time of asking, with many in the paddock and across the wider motorsport world taking notice and to the delight of the MotoGP community.
“I am so happy to finally reach the finish line and to complete the goal I set out to do,” Petrucci confirmed. “It’s been a tough time both leading up to the event and the race itself, but to complete my first ever Dakar feels amazing.
“I’m really happy with my performance but over the last couple of days I have had some crashes and feel quite sore at the moment,” he admitted. “Thanks to all the team for their hard work, it has been an amazing experience and one of the hardest things I have ever done.”
Monster Energy Honda’s Pablo Quintanilla won the final stage but it wasn’t enough to hold off Britain’s Sam Sunderland to the overall Dakar 2022 victory with just over three minutes separating the final two after an intense two weeks in the Saudi desert.