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Broken ankle and camels: Petrucci's first Dakar win has bizarre backstory

Broken ankle and camels: Petrucci's first Dakar win has bizarre backstory

7 January - 10:13 Last update: 11:28


Former MotoGP rider Danilo Petrucci took his first win of the day as a Dakar rookie, but it didn't happen without a struggle. After encountering problems in the second stage that almost destroyed his Dakar dream, he had to face a herd of camels in the fifth stage.

The 31-year-old Italian crashed when he encountered a herd of camels after a blind turn, one in particular getting in the way. "I had to swerve in a flash and I crashed," Petrucci explains to Speedweek.com. "I could have killed that camel, but in the meantime I found out that here in Saudi Arabia camels have a higher value than women. So it seemed better to leave the animal alone," jokes the Tech3-KTM rider.

Petrucci has high favor factor

The fall cost him a lot of time, but ultimately did not prevent him from taking the day's victory. It would have been close, however, as second man Ross Branch finished just two seconds behind Petrucci, who is overjoyed with the record he set. "When I was young I always wanted to make history in motorcycle racing. I succeeded, because I am the only person in the world to have won a MotoGP race and a Dakar stage. That makes me really happy," he explains.

The Italian always had a high favor factor in MotoGP and could therefore count on many congratulations from his peers, including eight-time world champion Marc Marquez and nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi. This to the great joy of Petrucci, who is very moved by all the enthusiasm from the MotoGP world and who says he 'cried like a baby.'

Many obstacles in Dakar rally for Petrucci

The camels are certainly not the only obstacle Petrucci had to face. He is participating in the rally with a broken ankle, something that is not unusual for motorcycle riders. In addition, he almost saw his Dakar dream go up in smoke as early as the second stage when he encountered technical problems.

Petrucci came to a stop and wanted to contact his team, but noticed at that moment that he had lost his personal belongings. His phone, passport and wallet were gone, forcing him to call for help through the system on his bike. This initially took him out of the race, but the new rules of 2022 allowed him to continue.

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