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Morbidelli hints at potential Yamaha MotoGP split

by Simon Patterson
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Franco Morbidelli has given his strongest hint yet that his MotoGP future doesn’t lie with Yamaha and that he’s looking elsewhere for 2024 and beyond.

The admission came in an interview after Morbidelli inflicted a rare intra-team defeat on his 2022 world champion team-mate Fabio Quartararo at Mugello, beating him to 10th place.

Speaking to MotoGP’s official website after the race, Morbidelli indicated that his options for next year have changed – and seemingly quite recently.


Asked whether beating Quartararo to the top-10 finish was important for his future, Morbidelli replied: “I don’t care, I don’t care. I need to be focused on being the best professional that I can be, being the best rider that I can be. I don’t race according to my future or according to my contracts, I race according to my passion.”

It was then put to him that results like Sunday’s could only help his future, to which Morbidelli replied “talk with Lin”, a reference to Yamaha team boss Lin Jarvis.

The exchange continued:

Interviewer: “Do you not think that results like that could help?”

Morbidelli: “To do what?”

Interviewer: “Help secure another year with Yamaha.”

Morbidelli: “Do I want to secure another year with Yamaha?”

Interviewer: “Well, do you?”

Morbidelli: “Talk with Lin.”

That stance is a dramatic change from recent weeks and Morbidelli’s previous suggestions that he hoped his future still lay with Yamaha.


“Every race is important,” Morbidelli said on Thursday this week.

“I don’t race according to keeping my job. I race according to my passion. My drive. And according to what I’ve done all my life. This is what I know to do, and this is what I do better in life. And I don’t want to get polluted by external stuff.

“OK, this is also a job, and we all want to keep our jobs, don’t we? So, I would love to keep my job, and I would love to keep doing it for a lot of years still.

“So, I keep doing my thing, I keep improving – as I said, last year the difference between me and Fabio was a lot and that doesn’t put you in a good position if you’re the one getting his butt kicked.

“But this year is a whole different story. We can say this after five races. OK, we need to keep going but we can say this after five races. Because numbers talk. I don’t.

“So, let’s see. These three races are really important because it’s a triple-header but they are as important as the other ones.”

That followed another MotoGP interview published in the gap between the French and Italian GPs in which Morbidelli had also appeared focused on staying at Yamaha.

“I feel like I need to give a little more to keep my spot,” he said then.


“And try to achieve what I want to achieve with this team.

“And I feel that matching the performances of Fabio is already a good achievement – or is an acceptable achievement for me this year.”

Adding another layer of complexity are rumours in the MotoGP paddock, shared by The Race’s sources, of Yamaha chasing another the star rider from a rival factory as a potential replacement for Morbidelli. Those rumours were somewhat dialled back during the Mugello weekend.

But there’s no smoke without fire, and the combination of the emergence of those rumours and Morbidelli’s change of stance in his post-race interview could well mean that something significant has shifted within the camp in the past few days.

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