News about Yamaha’s rider, Maverick Viñales (MVK12), unsatisfied with Yamaha has been around for quite some time. Finally, in August of this year, an “unexplained irregular operation” of his motorcycle prompted Yamaha to suspend the rider, which then led to the eventual early termination of the contract.
Just recently, the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team has announced that Spanish rider, Franco Morbidelli, will be joining them as one of their official riders for the remainder of the 2021 MotoGP season, up to 2023 MotoGP season.
Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo
“It is with great pleasure that Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. confirm Franco Morbidelli as a Yamaha Factory Racing MotoGP Team rider for the remaining races in 2021 and for the 2022 and 2023 seasons. The Italian will make his highly anticipated return from injury debuting with the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team this weekend at the Gran Premio di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini,” said Yamaha through a statement.
The Italian will make his long-awaited return after an injury this weekend, debuting with the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team at the Gran Premio di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini. He will be part of the Yamaha Factory Racing MotoGP Team’s rider line-up for the upcoming five 2021 GP events and a full-time Factory rider in 2022 and 2023.
Morbidelli has shown great riding and motivation so far in his three seasons of racing with Yamaha in the MotoGP World Championship. The successful partnership with the Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing team led to a second-place overall for the Italian in 2020, having secured five podiums including three victories that season.
His 2021 season, however, was hampered by injury. He decided to have surgery on the meniscus and anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on June 25, causing him to miss the Dutch, Styrian, Austrian, British, and Aragon GP. Following a rehabilitation program, Morbidelli is now ready to return to action.
This weekend, the 26-year-old will be reunited with former Petronas Yamaha SRT teammate, Fabio Quartararo, this time as part of the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team. He aims to use the remainder of the 2021 season to adapt to the new team surroundings and the 2021 factory-spec YZR-M1, and gradually work up to 100% fitness level.
With two further years as a factory rider on the horizon after the 2021 season, Morbidelli can count on Yamaha’s full support and the opportunity to fight at the front for big milestones on many occasions.