MotoGP: Franco Morbidelli signs new two-year deal with Petronas Yamaha
Petronas Yamaha have confirmed that Franco Morbidelli will remain with the team for the 2021 and 2022 MotoGP seasons.
Morbidelli had a strong maiden campaign with the team last year, securing four front row starts and seven top-six finishes. He also helped the team to secure the 2019 Independent Team Championship. Morbidelli ended 2019 10th overall in the championship.
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"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," Morbidelli said. "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."
Morbidelli will once again line-up alongside Fabio Quartararo this season and will be hoping that the gap between the two isn't as big this time around. Quartararo stormed to fifth in the standings in 2019, with six pole positions and seven podiums.
Petronas Yamaha Boss Razlan Razali certainly believes in Morbidelli's talent and potential moving forward. "We are delighted to confirm that Franky will continue with us next year," Razali commented. "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!"
Morbidelli, a VR46 Academy member, is expected to be joined at the Petronas Yamaha team by Valentino Rossi next year. An announcement on Rossi's switch from the factory Yamaha team is expected any day now.