Petrucci out of Assen after motocross training crash, Spinelli gets WorldSBK debut

The third round of the 2024 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship will not feature Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) after the Italian suffered a motocross training incident in Italy. Already with a podium in 2024 and with a solid start after six races, it’s a blow that the #9 didn’t want but with seven weeks off between Assen and Misano, he’ll hope to be back fit for his home round. This weekend, he’ll be replaced by fellow countryman and WorldSSP podium finisher, Nicholas Spinelli.

Spinelli, who has 20 races, seven top ten finishes and one podium from his experience in WorldSSP, steps up to the main World Superbike class for this weekend, deputising for ‘Petrux’. Spinelli is no stranger to the team, having won the CIV championship for them in 2022 under the ‘next generation’ class. 22-year-old Spinelli doesn’t have Superbike experience but he’s a double CIV Moto3 champion alongside his CIV Supersport accolade.

Petrucci’s crash left him with a double fracture to his jaw, which he has already undergone surgery for with the insertion of plates. He’ll also undergo surgery on his right clavicle but is scheduled to remain in hospital until Monday, 15th April, although his recovery will take longer due to the second procedure. The fourth round takes place on 14th – 16th June, although there will be a test at Misano two weeks prior on the 30th and 31st of May, with this the target for Petrucci’s return to the track.

Speaking about being out for the third round, Danilo Petrucci spoke dejectedly after such a strong start to the year: “I’m truly disappointed about this injury. I was in great shape, felt I could achieve good results, and was training even harder. I’d never had to skip a race due to a motocross accident, but I won’t be at Assen. With the plates they’ve inserted, I wouldn’t even be able to put on my helmet. In agreement with the doctors, we decided to operate on the clavicle too. I want to be there for the Misano tests at the end of May.”

With a career-first WorldSBK call-up, Spinelli is relishing the opportunity, despite the circumstances: “I am so sorry for Danilo’s accident and I wish him a speedy recovery, but I am really happy with this call. Racing with the guys of Superbike is a dream come true, I will try my best to do well and enjoy this experience. A big thank you to Marco Barnabo and the whole team who still believe in me after the season we had together.”

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