Former MotoGP rider Danilo Petrucci is set to take part in next month’s WorldSBK test at Portimao ahead of a likely switch to MotoAmerica. 

At the February 8-9 test Petrucci will complete his return to Ducati and ride a Panigale V4 R. The Italian will be alongside Ducati riders Alvaro Bautista and Michael Rinaldi, while 2021 world champion Toprak Razgatlioglu and Jonathan Rea are the headline names also in action. 

Next month’s test is also expected to prelude a switch to MotoAmerica with the Warhorse HSBK Ducati team - the same outfit that Loris Baz rode for in 2021. 

After it was confirmed by KTM that Petrucci would not be retained at Tech 3 for 2022, rumours of a full-time switch to WorldSBK began to surface. 

However, with the Italian shifting his focus towards the Dakar Rally and Ducati’s satellite teams GoEleven and Barni Racing signing young WorldSSP talents Philipp Oettl and Luca Bernardi, it meant a switch to Superbikes was out of the question.

But with an opening at the full factory Warhorse team and a return to the manufacturer he had the most success with in MotoGP currently on the table, Petrucci could be set to take a similar path to Baz. 

The French rider stepped away from world championship racing to compete in MotoAmerica, and although he was winless during his one and only season in the States, a consistent run of podiums and good performances saw him called-up to replace an injured Chaz Davies for rounds ten and eleven of the 2021 WorldSBK season. Baz went on to claim two podiums in his five races before securing a move to Bonovo BMW for 2022. 

Petrucci, who despite no previous rally-raid experience and suffering an ankle injury before this month’s Dakar took place, won stage five - becoming the first former MotoGP rider to ever win a stage. It was a brilliant performance from Petrucci who is also likely to return to the Dakar in the future.