MILAN: Franco Morbidelli was today promoted to Yamaha’s factory team ahead of his return from injury at the weekend’s San Marino MotoGP, in a deal for the remainder of this championship and the following two campaigns.
In a statement, Yamaha said the 26-year-old had signed until the end of the 2023 campaign, and will make his team debut on Sunday alongside current championship leader and former Yamaha-SRT teammate Fabio Quartararo.
The 26-year-old, who finished second last season, will be making his comeback after missing the last five races following surgery on his left knee in June.
He moves up to Yamaha’s factory team ahead of schedule following the stormy departure of Spanish rider Maverick Vinales, now with Aprilia.
His promotion also allows Andrea Dovizioso to return to MotoGP alongside Valentino Rossi at Yamaha-SRT until the end of the current season, after which Rossi will retire from the sport aged 42.
Morbidelli currently sits 17th in the overall standings on 40 points, some 174 behind runaway leader Quartararo.
He has won three races since moving up to MotoGP in 2018, all of which came last year.