The Great Yamaha Reshuffle: Morbidelli Confirmed In Factory Team Through 2023, Dovizioso At SRT From Misano Through 2022

It has been an open secret for some time, but now finally Yamaha have confirmed it officially. In a flurry of press releases, Yamaha have announced their reshuffle of the factory Yamaha team, and laid the first stone in their satellite operation. Starting immediately, Franco Morbidelli will be joining the factory team, and has signed a contract for the next two seasons, 2022 and 2023. Taking his place in the Petronas Yamaha SRT team effective immediately will be Andrea Dovizioso, and the Italian veteran will race in Yamaha's satellite team for 2022.

Though most of the news was already out in public, there were still a few details in the announcements which hadn't been confirmed. Firstly, although Yamaha Managing Director Lin Jarvis confirmed to me in Austria that Franco Morbidelli would be moving up to the factory team for next year, the deal announced is for two seasons, for 2022 and 2023. Crucially, that puts him out of step with almost the entirety of the rest of the MotoGP field. Everyone bar Marc Marquez and Brad Binder, who have contracts through 2024, have deals which end in 2022 - with the caveat that most rookies, like Raul Fernandez and Remy Gardner in the Tech3 KTM team, will have options to continue beyond 2022.

Franco Morbidelli will start his term in the factory Yamaha team this weekend. The Italian is coming off a long absence for surgery on his ACL, however. Normally, the recovery time for such a knee operation is six months. Morbidelli, however, had surgery at the end of June, less than three months ago. The move will allow Morbidelli to settle into the factory team, and adapt to the 2022 Yamaha M1, rather than the 2019 bike he has been riding for the past year and a half.

The second detail to be announced is that Andrea Dovizioso will be signing a contract with Yamaha directly. That puts him on a 2022 Yamaha M1 in the satellite team due to be announced this weekend by the remnants of the Petronas SRT team, now that Petronas and the Sepang International Circuit have withdrawn from the squad. Team bosses Razlan Razali and Johan Stigefelt are expected to reveal their plans, and the name of their new project at some point over the weekend.

That announcement has apparently run into a glitch. Multiple sources have reported that the intended sponsor WithU, an Italian utilities company currently backing the team's MotoE effort, have withdrawn their sponsorship, and have chosen to back the VR46 team instead, alongside Sky Italia.

Though unrelated to the Yamaha news, the backing of WithU and Sky suggests that the mysterious deal with Tanal Entertainment, a Saudi-backed development concern, is off. The deal was always dubious, though the story was so hard to track that it was hard to unravel the truth behind it. So far, however, no concrete details have been announced for the sponsorship of the VR46 squad.

The press releases from Yamaha and Petronas appear below:


FRANCO MORBIDELLI JOINS YAMAHA FACTORY RACING MOTOGP TEAM FOR 2021-2023

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.

Misano Adriatico (Italy), 16th September 2021

Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. are delighted to announce that Franco Morbidelli has signed with the Yamaha Factory Racing MotoGP Team for the remaining races in 2021 and for the 2022 and 2023 seasons. The Italian will make his long-awaited return after 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 led to a second place overall for the Italian in 2020, having secured five podiums including three victories that season.

The PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team rider‘s 2021 season was hampered by injury. He decided to have surgery on the meniscus and anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on 25 June, causing him to miss the Dutch, Styrian, Austrian, British, and Aragon GP. After following a rehabilitation programme, 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.

LIN JARVIS - MANAGING DIRECTOR, YAMAHA MOTOR RACING

“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 rider line-up change mid-season, we had the chance to let him upgrade early.

“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 the future.”

FRANCO MORBIDELLI

“I'm very pleased and happy about facing this weekend and this highly anticipated new chapter with the Factory Yamaha team. 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.”


ANDREA DOVIZIOSO SIGNS WITH YAMAHA MOTOR COMPANY FOR 2021-2022

With Franco Morbidelli debuting in the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team for this week‘s Gran Premio di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. is delighted to announce that MotoGP star Andrea Dovizioso will be joining PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team. The Italian will race for Yamaha‘s satellite team for the remainder of 2021 as well as the entire 2022 MotoGP season.

Misano Adriatico (Italy), 16th September 2021

Following Franco Morbidelli‘s transfer to Yamaha‘s factory team, Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. is pleased to announce the signing of MotoGP star Andrea Dovizioso. He will be joining Yamaha‘s satellite team rider line-up for the remainder of 2021 and the entire 2022 MotoGP season.

The vastly experienced Italian is a three-time MotoGP Vice Champion and has many premier-class and lower-class achievements and victories to his name. He is known as a late-braker and one of the cleanest competitors in battle. Dovizioso is also no stranger to the YZR-M1, making him a perfect addition to the Yamaha rider line-up. He completed a successful season with a Yamaha satellite team in 2012, resulting in six third places and a fourth place in the final standings.

Yamaha as well as MotoGP fans the world over eagerly anticipate Dovizioso‘s return to action aboard a Yamaha YZR-M1 this weekend. The 35-year-old will start the second leg of his racing career with Yamaha on Morbidelli‘s former bikes. During the 2022 season he will be riding a factory-spec YZR-M1 and receive full support from Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.

LIN JARVIS - MANAGING DIRECTOR, YAMAHA MOTOR RACING

“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.”

ANDREA DOVIZIOSO - PETRONAS YAMAHA SRT RIDER

“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!”


Dovizioso to make MotoGP return with PETRONAS Yamaha SRT

Andrea Dovizioso to see out 2021 season as Franco Morbidelli moves to factory team

Italian rider Andrea Dovizioso will join PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team for the remainder of the 2021 season, replacing fellow countryman Franco Morbidelli – who is moving to Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP.

‘Dovi’ made his MotoGP debut in 2008 having taken the 125cc World Championship title in 2004. In his first season in the premier class he finished as top Independent rider, and claimed his first victory one year later. Since his first premier class race, the Italian has racked up a total of 62 podiums, 15 wins and 7 pole positions. In addition to this, Andrea was also in the championship fight in 2017, 2018 and 2019 – ending all three years as vice champion.

Marking his much-anticipated return to the championship, Dovizioso will join the Malaysian squad as Valentino Rossi’s team-mate for the rest of the 2021 season, starting with the San Marino GP this weekend.

Re-joining his former team-mate Fabio Quartararo, Franco Morbidelli graduates to the factory Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team from this weekend’s Grand Prix. The 2020 Championship runner-up took his first MotoGP podiums and wins with PETRONAS Yamaha SRT in 2020, and everyone would like to sincerely thank Franco for his time with the team and wish him all the very best in his graduation.

Razlan Razali

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.

Andrea Dovizioso

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. 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.

Source: 

Back to top

Comments

David, what is the story with Dovi and Aprilia? The tests seemed positive, and he was to continue with them through 2021. Then there were hints of indecision, Aprilia had to keep the options open, then came Vinales, and now Dovi is on the Petronas Yamaha. Did he dislike the bike? Was it money? Clashing personalities? There seems to be an untold story here, unless I missed it.

Although it's red, I'll dig out my 04 shirt to wear this Sunday! I look forward to having him back on the grid--albeit on the oldest bike--for the rest of the season. It will be fun to see if he still has it, although we probably won't really know until next year.

Will Ramon Forcada remain as Dovi's crew chief? Hope so.

 

All that sponsorship shuffling is really kicking things off eh? While I'm glad that Saudi company(?) seems to not be involved, that also sounds like a kick in the teeth for the Team Formally Known As Petronas SRT.

I get that Dovi is an undeliable talent, but with all of the fresh young faces I certainly think I'd look to the future........

 

Mark

Hey, he is seven years younger than his teammate!  ;-)

Someone will calculate the total years in gp, races started, podiums achieved etc. for 2021 Petronas Yamaha, will be a fun exercise. But the all-Italian team will need a new name...

Pizza Pensioners?

Garibaldi's Grayhairs?

Rusty Romans?

I haven't watched Dovi's whole press conference, but has he had to give up his red bull sponsorhip?

Good news. And, tough to be on the old 2019 at this point. It is slow. 

Re why take this over the Aprilia, guessing that Dovi is hungry for one last go for results for 2022. The Aprilia is developing, will need patience. The Yamaha (aside from current A Spec one) is a potential race and championship winner. 

Another reality though is that no one but Fabio Quartararo is able to put that thing up front consistently. Like Honda but to a lesser degree, the Yamaha has had tough times for a while. For now Quartararo is an Alien, no one else can do it. And irony of ironies it is the DUCATI that is the rideable top notch bike. All four of their factory bike riders have been doing the business. It can turn, take elbow dragging lean angle, has enough motor to visibly gap everyone else, still brakes like a plow, sets up for various tracks, has amazing electronics and good tire preservation, doesn't pump or waggle driving out, and isn't overly taxing to ride. So different to the Pre-Gigi Red bike that the riding style is overtly different to the naked eye. 

So, blue collar astronaut Andrea Dovisioso, care to challenge this narrative that the Ducati can't be overtaken and Quartararo is Alien? Looks like it. And I wish you all the best!

Crystal Ball, Yamaha is putting together a solid 2022 lineup that will bring things forward. But their bike's weaknesses will be on greater display then too. Dovi and Morbidelli both do rather well, but not touching what Quarty does. No shame in that, Fabio is something special. And, the Blue bike isn't unless we are referring to the dyno and least of the bunch.

We have a cool grid shaping up! Even the customer bikes at the rear should have a boost, the gap between the 2021 and 2022 Duc and Yam machines should be smaller than currently. Honda is a question mark, hoping they continue as the have. I do not question Mark, he is coming and now. KTM and Suzuki are a bit hard to crystal ball. Suzuki has always left us nonplussed. They have shape shift coming. That is all we know. The new front tire may help everyone but them and Yamaha quite a bit more relatively. Unlike Suzuki and Honda, surely KTM is working very hard now in a very focused manner. They have been making gains in a "gain, pause, reorient, innovate, gain" manner. I would bet Winter test is very fruitful. Their riders too, they need to make a step. If they don't there might be a Remy Gardner doing a Fabio/Mir/(Martin?) up into the front pack. Binder and Oliveira have not reached ceiling. The whole Orange project could be expected to have a gain soon. 

Anyone wish to call it on some of the interesting sub plots next season? Dovi, or Morbidelli? Both of them or Maverick? Maverick or Rins? A.Espargaro or Maverick? Martin or Bagnaia? Dovi, or the 2nd Duc rider? Which new rider and bike combo will gel the best? 

In my mind, for Dovi to be a threat he would have to be on...the 2022 Ducati. Sorry everybody. But, accepting that, there is plenty to see and love. Unless that is you have a Have Riders Crash, Haven't Really Cared shirt. Or are distracted by "duff tires" and track limit calls?

Misano!!!

“I was feeling good at home, I was doing what I like, my passions, and I was a bit more relaxed – because when you don’t race in MotoGP, you are more relaxed!

“But at the beginning when that [Yamaha] door opened, I thought about that. But I couldn’t say no.

“It was already in 2012, after a good year in a satellite situation, my dream was to be on a factory Yamaha. And it didn’t happen.

“That fixed it for me in my mind to have this chance, after eight years on the same bike it was something I wanted to do and that it was my bike.

“For sure, it’s more risk than the possibility to do good, but I think for a lot of people it’s like that.

“But I don’t care, I race for me; I race because I have the passion to race.

“I am really interested to feel and ride a completely different bike. And I don’t think I have any problems about 

“What happened this year, I’m happy to be in this situation,” Dovizioso added.

“For sure, it’s not the best start to a race weekend because after eight years on the same bike, it all takes time.

“On another side I’m lucky because I’m able to do five races, two tests before the next season, which is what I am looking forward to.”

Re Aprilia, 

“I didn't want race for them in 2021,” Dovizioso recalled. “That's why I stayed home.

“Massimo [Rivola, Aprilia Racing CEO] is a really good person, and he pushed me to ‘try the bike, try the bike, try the bike’ - and at the end he won!

“It was a good idea. My manager pushed for that because it was a good idea for both. But I didn't approach this to race. It wasn't the situation I wanted, but not because Aprilia wasn't good.

“I knew what I wanted; I wanted something not possible at the beginning of the season. But that thing has happened. I’m lucky, I’m happy.”

Congratulations to Franco Morbidelli on his promotion to the Yamaha factory team powered by sugar water. It is so good to see the return of 2020's runner-up. I missed FM21. Hope he has a good weekend.

Sepang Racing Team; out with the young riders & in with the old guys. Fabulous Q 22 & Franky M 26 move to the Factory team replaced by AD04 (35) & VR46 (42). Not that age matters, much. Where to next year for the Yamaha satellite team? Mature Professor Dovi and a young gun? Who might get that saddle when the music stops?

Why did Dovizioso take the ride at Yamaha rather than Aprilia? Very good question Motoshrink.

Any chance of an interview with the man himself David Emmett? My guess is the culture in the teams is different. As an Italian Dovi may have more insight into what Aprilia is like to work for. AD 04 may have learnt something at his tests with Aprilia that put him off.

Yamaha has had it's problems as well over the last few years. Dovi chose Yamaha, suggesting that there are more issues to be worked through at Noale. Maybe it was just money. Aprilia may have prefered a younger rider in Maverick.

Hazardous Risky Chance will be better in 2022. Shorter wheelbase, steeper forks, MORE POWER!! Only wimps care about ridability.

Speaking of his year on the 2012 satellite M1 and the dream of a factory Yamaha ride for 2013, Dovi said, "That, it was my bike. I want to say, with that bike I will be stronger, faster, the best. But as a rider you have your idea, you have your feeling when you race for a lot of years against our manufacturer. And it was something I really wanted to do."

Not convinced red would bring out Dovi's maximum next year. And it cannot be known. Maybe the tuning forks instrument is the perfect bike for Dovi's riding style and mindset. The interesting subplot is that Yamaha is pairing up Dovi with Forcada. That is matching vast experience and intelligence. Hope the personalities gel. 

Maybe riders are getting what they have been asking for. Their dreams are coming true. Dovi gets the factory M1 with factory support. Same for Morbidelli in the factory team. And Viñales finds a home where he can trust the family. These three pilots are starting the final third of the 2021 motogp championship fully focused on 2022. Should add more spice to an already delicious meal.