Although Danilo Petrucci failed to realise his childhood dream of winning the MotoGP world championship, the Italian will leave a lasting legacy on the sport as he prepares to race the Dakar Rally in 2022. 

Petrucci, who joined MotoGP in 2012, had one of the more unconventional routes to the premier class. 

The Italian rider competed World Superstock 1000 during the 2010 and 11 seasons, before moving to MotoGP with Came IodaRacing aboard a very unfavored Suter machine. 

But after some impressive performances, Petrucci joined Ducati in 2015 before going on to sign for the factory team in 2019 - the team both his MotoGP wins came with.

And although a world title never came his way, the 31 year-old had ‘a lot of fun’ throughout his ten years. 

Speaking ahead of his final MotoGP race, Petrucci said: "The last two races have unfortunately been really, really unlucky. But, I came here just wanting to enjoy my last kilometers on a MotoGP bike. 

"It has been a really good trip coming here (MotoGP), because ten years ago no one knew me, but especially as I did not know any Grand Prix circuits, any bike, tyres, nothing. 

"So, it was a long way to go, but I really had a lot of fun since then and this year; since last year in fact I started to struggle quite a bit. 

"I started to think of other ways of enjoying the bikes. Fortunately this opportunity (Dakar Rally) came thanks to KTM. Here I found some difficulties since last year because of my weight and my size that I didn’t have before. I was struggling too much with the level. 

"Switching to the Rally, I’m now one of the youngest and one of the lightest. It was really a pride to share the track with some unique talents and see them, also the guys here (other riders in the press conference) growing up from Moto3. 

"I was always a big fan of all the riders that I met for the first time. Was really nice to fight with the best guys in the world." 

Petrucci’s first win as a MotoGP rider came in spectacular fashion as he beat Andrea Dovizioso and Marc Marquez at Mugello, despite being under the weather as well.

However, that’s not the Italian’s favorite win as the moment was so big that ‘I don’t really remember that feeling’, instead he enjoyed last season’s victory in the wet at Le Mans more. 

"For sure, to win a race is something incredible. Here in MotoGP my childhood dream was to win the world championship," added the Tech 3 KTM rider. 

"Unfortunately I found big talents here on my way, but then in 2019 we were fighting nearly all the races for the victory or for the podium. 

"Maybe the best feeling was winning in Mugello, but the thing is I don’t really remember that feeling because the moment was too big. 

"Last year in Le Mans I enjoyed it a lot more. After winning the race in Italy there is always more expectation for Ducati, for everyone, but sincerely I really have few memories after the finish line. 

"Winning again in Le Mans has been really much better. I really enjoyed what I did on the sports side, I mean."

While Petrucci’s legacy might not be remembered for stunning win totals, world championships or the like, the Italian was highly appreciated by his fellow riders and fans due to his charismatic personality.

Jack Miller, who was Petrucci’s Pramac Ducati team-mate back in 2018 had a great answer to sum up the Italian, but not before the pair joked about their strangest/favorite times together.

Petrucci: "Having too many beers” [both laugh].  

Miller: "Or not enough!” 

Petrucci: "I don’t want to be in my liver Sunday night [hysterical laughter]. I’m quite scared about it and especially don’t want to meet Jack.”   

Miller then proceeded to say this about his former team-mate at Pramac Ducati. "It was fantastic to share the box with him honestly. I think we enjoyed two of the best seasons of my life. 

"He was a great team-mate; not taking anything away from you [Francesco Bagnaia], but it was fantastic. 

"We had a great atmosphere in the box and as you can tell we are both easy going guys and have similar characters. 

"But I just want to say that I don’t think we appreciate Danilo [Petrucci] enough for what he has done, from where he has come to where he has arrived too. He did a fantastic job and was a great inspiration for the sport. 

"Also, how he changed his life to fit this thing (MotoGP bike), because he doesn’t have the physical normality of this sport [jokes], but he really sacrificed everything for this sport which shows the true racer that he is. 

"On behalf of everybody I think we have to say thank you to you for what you have done."

Danilo Petrucci is not the only rider saying his goodbye to MotoGP this weekend, as nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi is retiring following Sunday's race.