- Credited: Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP

MORBIDELLI JOINS YAMAHA FACTORY RACING; DOVIZIOSO MAKES MOTOGP RETURN

Morbidelli will join his former teammate, Quartararo in Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP starting this weekend at Misano and beyond.

Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. has confirmed that the 2020 runner-up, Franco Morbidelli, will join his former teammate, Fabio Quartararo, in Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP for the rest of the season, as well as in the 2022 and 2023 seasons, which begin this weekend in the Gran Premio Octo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini.

The Italian returns from a left knee injury and will make his Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team debut on his familiar home track. Morbidelli has demonstrated his ability in three-season of racing with Yamaha in the MotoGP World Championship. In 2020, he finished second overall after securing five podiums finishes including three victories.

The injury affected the Petronas Yamaha SRT rider’s 2021 season. He decided to have surgery on the meniscus and anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on the 25th of June, which forced him to miss the Dutch, Styrian, Austrian, British, and Aragon Grand Prix’s. Morbidelli is now more than ready to return to racing action with Monster Energy Yamaha after completing a rehabilitation programme that lasted more than eight weeks.

The 26-year-old Italian will contribute the remainder of the 2021 season to adapting to the 2021 Factory-spec YZR-M1 and gradually increasing his fitness level. Morbidelli can count on Yamaha’s full support and opportunity to fight at the front for big milestones and occasions for the two further years as the Factory rider.

“I’m very pleased and happy about facing this weekend and this highly anticipated new chapter with the Factory Yamaha team,” Morbidelli said. “I’ve been trying to recover as much as possible for the final stage of this championship. I wanted to make my comeback at a track I know well and have great memories of, like Misano.”

“I’m looking forward to jumping on the bike and starting my journey with the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team. Of course, I need and I want to thank all the people who made it happen starting with Ito-san, Lin, Maio, Sumi-san, the VR46 Riders Academy, and all other people who made this collaboration possible.”

Lin Jarvis said, “First of all, we want to thank Petronas Yamaha SRT for allowing Franky to make his dream come true and letting him step up to the Factory team ahead of schedule. Originally, we had planned for Franky to move up from 2022 on, but following a sudden line-up change mid-season, we had the chance to let him upgrade early.”

He added, “Secondly, I want to give a warm welcome to Franky. He is an exceptional talent. This was even further highlighted last year when he secured second place in the championship and achieved five podiums and three wins on the satellite Yamaha. It shows the type of rider that he is: committed to extracting the best from the YZR-M1 under all circumstances. Naturally, we’re thrilled that Franky will be back in the paddock and that he is well enough to start racing again. He will have to find his form gradually, in line with his physical improvements, as he is still recovering. We will be using the remainder of 2021 to get him settled in the team and comfortable on the bike.”

“We have already locked down our plans for 2022 and 2023, with Franky receiving full Factory backing from Yamaha Motor Company. We feel certain that a skilled, calm, and experienced rider like Franky will strengthen the Yamaha Factory Racing MotoGP Team and will enjoy great success in future.”

Andrea Dovizioso, the Italian will ride for the Yamaha’s Independent Team alongside Valentino Rossi for the remainder of the 2021 season. Dovizioso replaces Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP rider Franco Morbidelli, and Dovizioso has also confirmed that he will ride for the team in 2022. He will be riding the Yamaha-spec YZR-M1 and will be fully supported by Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.

Dovizioso debuted in MotoGP in 2008 and also he has won the 125cc World Championship title in 2004. He finished as the top Independent rider in his first premier class season and claimed his first victory a year later. Since then, the Italian has obtained a total of 62 podiums, 15 victories, and 7 pole positions. He is also competed for the championship title in 2017, 2018, and 2019, finishing runner-up all three years.

“Although I didn’t expect to be back in MotoGP like this, I never closed the door on it and it’s good to be here with Yamaha and Petronas Yamaha SRT,” Dovizioso said. “ I wanted to try to enjoy a new situation and I’m really happy to be back. It will be interesting to be on a completely different bike to that I rode before and I’m looking forward to the experience. I visited the team in Aragon and it felt almost like it was 2012 again and sitting on the Yamaha bike felt just as good. It was great to have a first sit on the bike and do the initial adjustments so that we’re already one step ahead of FP1 here at Misano. I will need to get on track to understand the details and it would have been better to have had a test before jumping into a race, but I start with no pressure and it will be great to get going in Misano for the final five races of the season.”

“Racing with Yamaha has always been my dream, and that's why when the opportunity arrived I did not think twice, although I know it's going to be a tough challenge for me. I've got many things ahead of me to learn: a new bike, a new team, a new working system. It‘s a big challenge that starts at Misano, my home GP. This makes it even more exciting. I can't wait to be aboard my M1!”

Razlan Razali said, “We are absolutely thrilled with the collective decision between Yamaha and Petronas Yamaha SRT to welcome Andrea Dovizioso from this race onwards until the end of the year. Clearly, he is an extremely talented and highly-regarded rider, and we’re excited to see him back in the MotoGP paddock after his sabbatical and wearing our colours. We’re delighted with the line-up of Dovi alongside Valentino, and that we have two home-race heroes at Misano this weekend.”

“Of course, this is possible because Franky is moving to the factory team alongside his old team-mate Fabio, and we are absolutely delighted and excited for him. He has performed remarkably for us, especially last year as vice-Champion, and this progression is exactly the objective for an independent team – to develop riders for the factory team and to help them perform to the best of their ability. For the first time the line-up of the Yamaha factory team consists of two riders who have graduated from our team, and we are exceptionally proud of that. For me, this is a clear sign of the stronger, deeper collaboration between us and Yamaha. We are always ready to support the factory, and I think that with this solution and flexibility we all see a clear benefit, so we’re very pleased, and of course, thank Franky sincerely for all his hard work and wish him all the very best.”

Lin Jarvis also said, “We are delighted that a MotoGP star and talent like Andrea is joining the Yamaha line-up. We warmly welcome him to the Yamaha MotoGP group as a very important member of our MotoGP programme. We have found ourselves in unprecedented circumstances this year that resulted in totally unexpected rider issues for both Yamaha teams. We experienced some unforeseen and unfortunate events, but we have been able to transform the problems into new opportunities.”

“Andrea has been away from MotoGP for a short sabbatical, but we are certain that a rider of his calibre will soon find his speed again. We are really looking forward to working with him as a member of Yamaha‘s satellite team, and we will be supporting him in every way we can.”

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