Petrucci adds fuel to the fire by saying he expects Iannone ‘to be back’

After seeing Andrea Iannone take part in a private test aboard a Ducati Panigale V4, and rumours linking him with a racing return to WorldSBK, Danilo Petrucci has confirmed he expects his fellow Italian to be back on the world championship stage.
Andrea Iannone, Mugello MotoGP 2021
Andrea Iannone, Mugello MotoGP 2021

While never teammates in MotoGP, Petrucci and Iannone competed together at Ducati during the 2015 and 2016 seasons. 

Lining up alongside Andrea Dovizioso at the factory team for both seasons was Iannone, while Petrucci was teammate to Yonny Hernandez at Octo Pramac Ducati, before Scott Redding joined him for the 2016 campaign.

Iannone then switched to the factory Suzuki team after falling out with Ducati, while Petrucci remained at Pramac for a further two seasons before getting his dream move to the factory team. 

Iannone’s last appearance in MotoGP came at the Valencian Grand Prix in 2019, however, after being found guilty of breaking an anti-doping rule, the Italian was disqualified from that and the Malaysian Grand Prix.  

The Italian has since been out of racing action since 2020 due to a four-year ban that was imposed on him.

But with his ban coming to an end after the 2023 season, Iannone can therefore return to professional racing as a move to WorldSBK has been touted.

In fact, Petrucci is also of the belief that Iannone could find his way back into world championship racing in the Superbike class.

Asked by whether he’s seen the recent private tests conducted by Iannone, one of which saw him swap Aprilia machinery for a V4 Ducati alongside Michele Pirro, Petrucci added: "Sure, I saw it! I think he’s coming back."

Petrucci compares riding style more to WorldSBK champion Bautista than Redding

After two seasons with Scott Redding in the factory team, Ducati elected to bring back Alvaro Bautista for 2022 and it proved to be the right call as he went on to win his first title.

Alvaro Bautista , Indonesian WorldSBK, 3 March
Alvaro Bautista , Indonesian WorldSBK, 3 March

Very different in terms of height, weight and overall riding style, Bautista managed to get more performance out of his Panigale V4 R compared to the former BSB champion.

And when looking at the physical stature of Petrucci, comparisons could be made to Redding, however, the WorldSBK rookie believes his riding style is more aligned with that of Bautista.

"In terms of riding, Scott and Alvaro are different," said Petrucci. "Scott needed a short, soft bike, while Alvaro needed a hard Panigale. 

"As far as my riding style, I need more support when braking and therefore I follow Bautista’s path more than Redding’s."

Petrucci also confirmed that he would like to remain in WorldSBK beyond the 2023 season and not make it a case of one-and-done, like in MotoAmerica last year. 

The Italian said: "I would like to stay here and I would like to win a race. I don’t think it will be a hit and run."

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