Danilo Petrucci will join Ducati for the World Superbike pre-season test at Portimao in February as he prepares for a potential move to MotoAmerica.
Former Tech3 KTM MotoGP racer will ride a Ducati Paningale V4 R in Portugutal on February 8-9, with other factory Ducati riders such as Alvaro Bautista, Michael Ruben Rinaldi and last year’s title rivals Toprak Razgatlioglu (Yamaha) and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki).
There have been rumors that Petrucci would rejoin Ducati for a championship-based seat since it became clear the Italian would not retain his seat at Tech3 KTM after 2021.
WSBK was previously considered a likely destination for Petrucci, but all three of Ducati’s client teams : Barni Racing, Motocorsa Racing and Team Go Eleven have riders signed up for 2022.
However, a seat was available at the Ducati-sponsored HSBK team in the United States when Loriz Baz was offered the chance to return to WSBK full-time this year with the satellite Bonovo BMW team.
Tom Sykes, former BMW rider, had been linked to the seat, but his alternatives now appear to be a Pedercini Kawasaki WSBK agreement or a long-awaited return to British Superbike racing.
From 2015 to 2018, Petrucci was a Ducati MotoGP rider, first as part of its satellite team Pramac before being promoted to the factory team in 2019 and winning two races.
Petrucci was later signed by KTM and Tech 3 for the 2021 season. However, at the end of last year the team opted not to renew his contract for 2022 but his ties with the Austrian manufacturer continued after he was signed to race at Dakar Rally.
Petrucci won a stage despite having zero rally-raid experience and injuring his ankle in advance of the event. He was the first MotoGP race winner to achieve this feat. An early mechanical failure, however, caused him to retire and not feature in the overall classification.