Yamaha signs Morbidelli and confirms Dovizioso MotoGP return


Morbidelli moves up to the factory Yamaha team and Dovizioso replaces him at Petronas SRT


Morbidelli and Dovizioso will have new surroundings for the rest of the 2021 season


Yamaha has confirmed that Franco Morbidelli will move up to the factory outfit for the remainder of the 2021 MotoGP season while Andrea Dovizioso will take his place at Petronas SRT.

Morbidelli has signed a deal that will keep him at the main Yamaha team until the end of the 2023 season while Dovizioso’s return to the series is part of a year-and-a-half deal, up to the end of 2022.

Alongside Fabio Quartararo, Mobidelli will make his return at the Rimini and San Marino GP this weekend following a knee injury and subsequent surgery earlier this year. He has missed the Dutch, Styrian, Austrian, British and Aragon Grands Prix, but will return at Misano.

Dovizioso will replace his compatriot at the satellite team alongside Valentino Rossi and return to MotoGP after half a season on the sidelines following a sabattical and several tests with Aprilia this year.

“I’m very pleased and happy about facing this weekend and this highly anticipated new chapter with the Factory Yamaha team,” Morbidelli said of the announcement.

“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 this happen, starting with Ito-san, Lin, Maio, Sumi-san, the VR46 Riders Academy, and all other people who made this collaboration possible.”

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The 26-year-old will join up with former Petronas SRT team-mate and current world championship leader Quartararo once more for the final five races of the 2021 season and a further two beyond that.

Prior to his injury, Morbidelli secured one podium finish that came at the Spanish GP at Jerez in May. He managed three non-points finishes and ninth-place in Barcelona before opting for surgery to repair his damaged knee.

Dovizioso had been linked with a possible ride at Aprilia following tests he conducted with the factory team earlier in the year but the Maverick Viñales/Yamaha relationship breakdown meant the latter was on an Aprilia at Aragon.

“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,” Dovi 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.”

Following the 2020 season, Dovizioso left the Ducati factory team and said he was content with a year on the sidelines to assess his MotoGP future.

The Italian has finished runner-up in three of the last five seasons, but will have a tough task on his hands with the Yamaha bike that has secured one podium in the hands of Morbidelli.

“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,” team boss Razlan Razali said.

“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.”