The Italian competed in his last MotoGP race last weekend at the Valencia Grand Prix and will switch to a Dakar Rally campaign in 2022 with KTM having lost his Tech3 rider for 2022.
It marks the end of a 10-year spell in MotoGP in which Petrucci came from the very back of the field in 2012 on the Ioda CRT machine to becoming a double race winner as a factory Ducati rider in 2019 and 2020.
Having come through the European ranks in production racing before his MotoGP shot, Petrucci’s route into the premier class of grand prix racing was a hugely unconventional.
Reflecting on his time in MotoGP, he believes he is likely to be the last rider to have success in the top class of grand prix motorcycle racing without being seen as a special talent.
“The first time in late 2011 someone told me I’m going to race in MotoGP next year, so my friends asked me, ‘Did you ever imagine racing in MotoGP?’” Petrucci said.
“And I answered, ‘Yes’, because it was always a dream of mine. But one thing is talking about the seat and another thing is crossing the seat.
“Sincerely, when I started this adventure in 2012, I don’t remember if I was last but for sure the first race I was last and I broke the bike also. For many races I’d be last in practice, last in qualifying and last in the race.
“And I think I was the only still believing, I never quit. One day the dream came true and was really, really, really nice because maybe I’m one of the last normal people to make without being a phenomenon.
“When I was young I was just a good rider, I was fast but people were faster than me.
Petrucci beat Marquez and Dovizioso to first of two MotoGP wins at Mugello in 2019
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
“But I never stopped believing that I was the best, and for two times in a race I showed to the people I was the best at least in that circuit, on that day.
“Mugello [in 2019] maybe was one day, but then I showed to myself at Le Mans [in 2020] that I could still win races.”
Former Pramac team-mate Jack Miller doesn’t believe any rider barring an exceptional few come into MotoGP as phenomenons and says the effort Petrucci put in to become competitive is proof to him that the Italian is “a legend”.
“The phenomenon thing I don’t think exists – ok, maybe [Moto3 champion] Pedro Acosta, or somebody like that,” Miller said when asked about Petrucci’s comments.
“But they’re few and far between. But Danilo had a talent, and not only a talent; he worked for it.
“If you see photos of him on the Ioda, with a face like a moon, and then when he hopped onto the Ducati, what he did to his body to be able to be competitive here, he worked for it. The guy is a legend.”