News 8 May 2023

Ducati drafts Petrucci back in as MotoGP fill-in rider

Bastianini targets return at Mugello for Italian Grand Prix.

Image: Supplied.

The Ducati Lenovo Team has drafted Danilo Petrucci as a fill-in for the recovering Enea Bastianini, with the former premier-class race winner ‘thrilled to be back racing in MotoGP’.

Petrucci last competed in MotoGP at Thailand Grand Prix, in 2022, as a fill-in at the Suzuki Ecstar team.

The Italian primarily contested the MotoAmerica season last year onboard a Ducati before making the switch to the Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) with the Barni Spark Racing Team for 2023.

He has two premier-class victories to his credit with the factory Ducati outfit, coming at Mugello in 2019 and Le Mans in 2020, set to make a return to the French venue this weekend in place of Bastianini.

“I am thrilled to be back racing in MotoGP, although I am sorry that Enea [Bastianini] has to miss another race,” said Petrucci. “In Le Mans with the Desmosedici GP, I won my last race in MotoGP.

“It will be an honour to be able to try the world champion bike and wear the suit that I won with in the past. It is an indescribable emotion, and I can’t wait to get back on track with the Ducati Lenovo Team. Thanks to Barni for letting me take this opportunity and to Ducati for thinking of me!”

After suffering a right shoulder injury at the end of March during the sprint race in Portimao, Bastianini had taken to the track for free practice in Jerez last week but had decided to retire on Saturday due to the pain and lack of strength that prevented him from riding his Desmosedici GP to its fullest.

Back in Italy, Bastianini immediately resumed his rehabilitation. Still, after some medical consultations and in mutual agreement with his team, he preferred to take some more time to fully recover his fitness for the Italian GP, which will be held at Mugello in early June.