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By Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS

Morbidelli to MotoGP™ with EG 0,0 Marc VDS

Moto2™ Championship leader announced as a graduate to the premier class in 2018

Franco Morbidelli will step up to MotoGP in 2018 after agreeing a contract extension with EG 0,0 Marc VDS in Assen. Morbidelli currently leads the Moto2™ World Championship and will now remain with EG 0,0 Marc VDS for a further two years, stepping up to the premier class. The agreement also includes an option for a third year should the Italian wish to continue with the team for the 2020 season.

Morbidelli made his debut for Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS in 2016, securing eight podium finishes on his way to fourth place in the Moto2™ World Championship. He then started the 2017 season with victory in Qatar, followed by further race wins in Argentina, Austin and Le Mans.

Franco Morbidelli: "Firstly I want to thank Marc van der Straten and Michael Bartholemy for having faith in me and giving me this opportunity. Thanks to my management team for arranging everything, leaving me free to focus on the racing and also to the Riders Academy. It's good to have everything sorted so early in the season, as I can now concentrate fully on what I have to do this year in Moto2. I'm excited by the thought of MotoGP and I'm happy to be making the step up to the premier class with the team, and with people I know and have worked alongside already. It's a big challenge, but it's definitely one that I'm looking forward to. But for now my focus is on this year, so thinking about MotoGP will have to wait until after the final Moto2 race of the season in Valencia."

Marc van der Straten, President, Marc VDS Racing Team: "I am delighted that we have secured Franco Morbidelli on a long term contract to represent the team in MotoGP from 2018 onwards. Franco was something of an unknown quantity when he came to us at the beginning of 2016, but we took a chance on him because we could see his potential. It was a good decision on our part, because he's not only realised this potential, his progress has actually far exceeded our expectations. He's leading the championship after dominating from the opening race and I am confident that he will adapt quickly to MotoGP once he makes the move at the end of this season. For now, though, he has other priorities, namely winning his first, and the team's second, World Championship title."