Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team have announced that Franco Morbidelli will be retained for the 2021 and 2022 MotoGP™ seasons. The Italian rider, who was MotoGP™ Rookie of the Year in 2018, joined Petronas Yamaha SRT in 2019 for the team’s debut MotoGP™ season.
The year saw Morbidelli make four front-row starts and claim seven top-six finishes aboard his Yamaha YZR-M1. In addition to this, Franco was also vital in helping to secure the 2019 Top Independent Team honour for Petronas Yamaha SRT, finishing 10th in the riders' championship with 115 points to his name.
After it was confirmed at the start of 2020 that Fabio Quartararo would join the official Yamaha factory team, now the question remains who will partner Morbidelli in the colours of Petronas Yamaha in 2021?
Franco Morbidelli: "I’m very pleased to be renewing with PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team as we had such a great season together last year, working with a great drive to achieve success. I think it’s important for me to continue with the same team, bike and environment going forward as it feels great to work with them. We all work well together and it’s great fun to work with all the PETRONAS SRT crew.
"I want to thank them for this opportunity that they are giving me as it’s such an honour to ride for them. I will be working hard to give them even more and even better results than we achieved in our first year together. I’m now looking forward to getting racing again to show our potential and I’m just so happy to have the chance to keep on doing what I love to do with a team I love."
Razlan Razali, Petronas Yamaha SRT Director: "We are delighted to confirm that Franky will continue with us next year. He is an extremely talented rider and a great asset to the team as we look to build on our rookie season. Franky was always in our plans for the future so it is beneficial for us and him to be able to confirm that he will ride for us in 2021 and 2022 now.
"Franky has the potential to reach the top step of the podium and this is what we’ll all be working hard to achieve. We have absolute faith in Franky even before this season has started. We are confident that Franky has what it takes to be competitive from Jerez and know that he will develop and mature in all areas through the years ahead. Franky will provide the team with stability and competitiveness and we can’t wait to be back on track!"