Franco Morbidelli to leave Yamaha at the end of the season

Franco Morbidelli to leave Yamaha at the end of the season

Franco Morbidelli won’t be part of the Yamaha MotoGP team after the end of 2023 when his current contract expires, the team has officially announced.

If Morbidelli decides to continue his MotoGP run, which has so far resulted in three victories, he will need to find a slot somewhere else on the premier-class grid. The 28-year old Italian is the teammate to 2021 champion Fabio Quartararo.

These three victories were all achieved in 2020 while racing for Yamaha’s satellite team, Petronas. Morbidelli’s performance in the Iwata factory colors never came close to matching that of his 2020 when he was promoted to the works squad in the middle of 2021 as a result of Maverick Vinales’ unexpected departure and his own recent knee surgery.

There had been a lot of rumours in recent weeks, but it has officially been confirmed this Wednesday that Franco Morbidelli will not be extending his contract with Monster Energy Yamaha after the second half of the current MotoGP season. Earlier in the day, it was also reported that Alex Rins will join with the team for the next season.

The Italian moved to the current RNF, which was then a Yamaha satellite team, after spending a season with Marc VDS riding a Honda in 2018. Later that year, the Italian joined the factory team till the end of 2021. He struggled terribly in replicating the outcomes he had as runner-up in 2020.

Morbidelli has gained much progress and is closer to teammate Fabio Quartararo in terms of performance which has been evident this season. However, the two parties did not decide to renew the contract.

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In the competitive MotoGP sport where spots are scarce, Morbidelli will now seek out a new challenge. Gresini is mentioned as one of the potential destinations.

The most likely place for Morbidelli to continue racing in MotoGP is as a satellite rider for Ducati, perhaps on an older-spec Desmosedici at Gresini or VR46.

Given that Morbidelli is a Valentino Rossi protege, Gresini doesn’t appear to be expected to keep Fabio Di Giannantonio, creating an empty seat. Meanwhile, VR46 has been striving to retain their current lineup of Marco Bezzecchi and Luca Marini.

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