MotoGP: Andrea Dovizioso announces his retirement after the San Marino Grand Prix

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Andrea Dovizioso has announced that he will not complete the 2022 MotoGP season and will retire from the sport after the San Marino Grand Prix at Misano next month.

The 15-time race winner opted to take a year out of MotoGP at the end of 2020, but agreed to become a test rider for Aprilia last year, before returning to the grid at Misano as a replacement for the injured Franco Morbidelli at Petronas Yamaha.

Petronas Yamaha became RNF Racing Yamaha for 2021, with Dovizioso remaining alongside rookie Darryn Binder. However, it’s been an extremely difficult campaign, not only for Dovizioso, but for Binder and Morbidelli on the factory Yamaha M1.

Dovizioso has picked up just 10 points from 11 races, securing a best result of 11th at Portimao. The RNF squad will switch to Aprilia next season, but Dovizioso has opted to call it a day and will be replaced by Cal Crutchlow for the final six races of 2022.

Dovizioso has struggled on the RNF Yamaha

“In 2012, the experience with the Iwata manufacturer in MotoGP had been very positive for me and since then I have always thought that, sooner or later, I would have liked to have an official contract with Yamaha,” Dovizioso said. “This possibility presented itself, actually in a somewhat daring way, during 2021. I decided to give it a try because I strongly believed in this project and in the possibility of doing well.

“Unfortunately, in recent years the MotoGP has changed profoundly. The situation is very different since then: I have never felt comfortable with the bike, and I have not been able to make the most of its potential despite the precious and continuous help from the team and the whole of Yamaha.

“The results were negative, but beyond that, I still consider it a very important life experience. When there are so many difficulties, you need to have the ability to manage the situation and your emotions well. We did not reach the desired objectives, but the consultations with the Yamaha technicians and with those of my team have always been positive and constructive, both for them and for me. The relationship remained loyal and professionally interesting even in the most critical moments: it was not so obvious that that would happen.”

In an interview with MCN contributor Frank Weeink last month (July 6 issue), the three-time MotoGP runner-up hinted that he may not see out the remainder of the season. “Let’s see,” Dovizioso responded twice when asked if he would finish the season…

So, you’re still not sure? (MCN)
“I don’t know. I never thought about that because my goal was to fight for important things. This wasn’t an option. But let’s see. I’m completely open to understanding what Yamaha are doing and what they want to do. I’m trying to have a good relationship also…

But you’re also trying to have some fun out there on the bike…(MCN)
“I’m trying to have fun but if you’re not there, you cannot have fun.”

Honestly, it surprises me a bit that you say, ‘let’s see’. This leaves the door open a bit that you might not finish the season, that you might not even come back after the summer break. (MCN)
Let’s see.”

Andrea Dovizioso and Franco Morbidelli on their respective M1s

RNF Team Principal, Razlan Razali said: “As we return to the paddock after a five week’s break, we were looking forward to work on turning things around for Andrea especially after some positive findings in the last two races. Nevertheless, he has made his decision to retire, and we respect that. Indeed, we are sad to see a great and experienced rider like Andrea leaving the championship and not ending the season with us.

“But we understand, he has been clear of his struggle to be comfortable with the bike and to suit his riding style to the way the bike needs to be ridden. Though we did not manage to reach the desired results together, we are still honoured and pleased to have a big name like Andrea in our team. We would like to thank Andrea for his support, expertise and contribution and we will continue to give him the full support for the remainder of the three races.”

Crutchlow also returned to the grid last season after retiring from MotoGP. The Brit replaced Morbidelli for both Austrian races at the Red Bull Ring for Petronas Yamaha, whilst also racing for the factory team at Silverstone and Aragon following Maverick Vinales’ dismissal.