MotoGP: Franco Morbidelli set for eight-week rehabilitation after successful surgery
Franco Morbidelli has undergone successful surgery on his left knee and will now face an eight-week rehabilitation programme.
The Italian's knee was operated on for an hour to fix his injured meniscus and anterior cruciate ligament and will remain in hospital under observation until Sunday. Morbidelli aggravated the existing injury in a training incident earlier in the week and consequently ruled out of this weekend's Dutch TT at Assen.
The predicted eight-week lay-off will likely mean that Morbidelli will miss the two rounds at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. The respective races are being held on back-to-back weekends - August 8 and August 15 - following the five-week summer break.
"After another painful incident with my left knee training on Wednesday I made the decision, together with PETRONAS Yamaha SRT and the VR46 Academy, to fix this issue that I’ve been carrying for too long now," Morbidelli said. "I underwent surgery this morning with only one idea in my mind: to come back in the best form as soon as possible and to be able to perform at 100% on the bike. I want to thank Professor Maurilio Marcacci and his team for their work.
"I can’t wait to be able to start my recovery process. I’ll miss my team, my bike and all the fans during this period, but I’m looking forward to being at the circuits again and enjoying racing. Thank you for all of your messages of support. See you soon!"
World Superbike rider Garrett Gerloff has replaced Morbidelli for this weekend's race at Assen, however the Grand Prix of Styria (August 8) will clash with WSB's Czech round at Autodrom Most.
As a result, Yamaha may opt to use test rider Cal Crutchlow for both Austrian rounds if Morbidelli is unable to compete. Crutchlow retired from full-time competition at the end of the 2020 season, re-joining Yamaha following his departure from HRC.
MotoGP: Franco Morbidelli to undergo knee surgery
First published: 25 June 2021 by Josh Close
The Petronas Yamaha rider first revealed the problem, initially caused by a training accident at the VR46 Ranch, after falling during a practice bike swap at the Catalan Grand Prix. The Italian's knee gave way when he jumped off his Yamaha M1. This latest incident appears to have further damage and surgery is now Morbidelli's best option.
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A statement released from the Petronas Yamaha team this evening revealed that: "Professor Maurilo Marcacci and his team will intervene to solve the problem to the meniscus and the anterior cruciate of Franco's left knee."
Morbidelli also provided fans with an update via his Instagram page:
"As many of you know I will not race in Assen this weekend after having another painful knee slip episode in training I feel it is for me the right time to fix this bothering injury. I will try to come back ASAP and in the best form possible! I will miss my team, my bike and you all, but I’m sure that I won’t take too long! Thank you all for the wonderful messages!"
Morbidelli's injury comes after a tough start to the 2021 season onboard the 2019 A-Spec M1 Yamaha.
World Superbike rider Garrett Gerloff will replace Morbidelli for this weekend's Dutch TT at Assen. It's Gerloff's full MotoGP debut after previously stepping in for Valentino Rossi on the opening day of the 2020 Valencia GP. Rossi did however return to action after passing a Covid test the following morning.
It's the first time since 2016, when the late Nicky Hayden replaced the injured Dani Pedrosa at Repsol Honda for the Australian GP, that an American rider will start a MotoGP race.
A further update will be made regarding Morbidelli's condition will be provided post-surgery. After this weekend's action there is a five-week summer break, with the Grand Prix of Styria not taking place until August 8.