Yamaha plan to promote Morbidelli and hire Dovizioso

·2-min read
Yamaha-SRT Italian rider Franco Morbidelli promoted to factory team (AFP/JOE KLAMAR)

Forced into a game of musical saddles, Yamaha plan to promote Franco Morbidelli and bring Andrea Dovizioso back to MotoGP after the sacking of Maverick Vinales, team boss Lin Jarvis said on Sunday.

Yamaha dropped Vinales after the way he treated his bike at the Styrian GP in early August.

While Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo, winner of Sunday's British Grand Prix, leads the world championship, the departure of Vinales meant there were questions over the manufacturer's other three bikes.

Their satellite team, SRT, has also been a rider down because Morbidelli is recovering from surgery in June.

The other SRT rider, Valentino Rossi, is retiring after this season.

"Our plan is to have Franky as a factory rider next year and now, due to this sudden termination mid-season, we'll also upgrade Franky mid-season," Jarvis said before the British GP.

At Silverstone veteran Cal Crutchlow returned to fill Vinales' place on the factory team while British Moto2 rider Jake Dixon raced for SRT.

While Quartararo won on Sunday, the other Yamahas were the three slowest finishers with Crutchlow 17th, Rossi 18th and Dixon 19th.

Dovizioso would come into the SRT team.

"We have reached verbal agreement with Andrea and his management, so Andrea will join very soon. The plan is from Misano...onwards and then he will ride also next year for that team."

Dovizioso, 35, who was runner-up in the world championship with Ducati in 2017, 2018 and 2019, took a sabbatical at the start of 2021 to await a good opportunity to return to MotoGP.

During this time he has been testing with Aprilia.

The plan still leaves the question of who will ride the second bike in the satellite team, which will be renamed next year.

Dixon and South African Moto3 rider Darryn Binder have been mentioned.

Vinales, meanwhile, is committed to Aprilia until 2022 but could make his debut earlier with the Italian manufacturer following the premature termination of his contract with Yamaha last week.

pel/pb/nr

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