Valentino Rossi Reveals Morbidelli's 2024 Yamaha Deadline
To secure a seat at Yamaha for 2024, Franco Morbidelli has been given a deadline. Here’s how many races the Italian has left.
After a disaster season in 2022, Franco Morbidelli started the 2023 campaign much better. Although he is still not competitive on the Yamaha, the gap to teammate and Yamaha reference Fabio Quartararo has shrunk by quite a bit.
Great news for the Italian since his spot in the Yamaha factory team is on the line, the contract with the Japanese expires at the end of the current season.
Yamaha would like to extend Morbidelli’s contract, however, several alternatives are already waiting in the wings.
As MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi, Team Principal of the VR46 Racing Team and mentor of the VR46 Academy Rider Morbidelli revealed, Yamaha has now set a clear deadline for its second factory rider.
“He needs to prove himself in the next races. It’s a crucial moment for Franco. In these four or five races they will decide if they will keep him in the factory team.”
At Yamaha, they expect at least a similar performance to teammate and 2021 world champion Fabio Quartararo.
“This is the target,” Rossi confirmed. “It’s difficult with Yamaha, at the moment. But he needs to give his maximum to keep his spot in the factory team.”
Under Pressure From All Sides
Several youngsters and possible newcomers are already in the starting blocks for a shot at the highly sought-after and rare MotoGP seats.
After his MotoGP test in Jerez, speculation about a possible MotoGP switch of the Turk Toprak Razgatlioglu does not tear off.
Equally interesting but possibly even more intriguing is that Jorge Martin is reportedly on the hunt for something else following his missed switch to the Ducati factory team.
Yamaha knows the strengths of the young Spaniard and with persistent rumors that Yamaha is keen to lure Jorge Martin from Ducati chances the Japanese could land a blockbuster signing are not that unlikely.
On top of that, to make Franco Morbidelli’s dilemma even worse several talented Moto2 youngsters like Pedro Acosta and Tony Arbolino, are ready for the step into the premier class and would not hesitate to get a go on factory material from the get-go.
The Italian certainly is under quite some pressure, however, he has shown in the past that he is capable of stand-out performances like his fourth-place finish in Argentina this season.
And after all, Morbidelli did not become second in the championship in 2020 by chance.