Marc VDS has officially confirmed the signing of Franco Morbidelli to race alongside Alex Marquez during the 2016 Moto2 season.

The 20-year-old Italian will move from Italtrans to take over the Kalex vacated by 2014 champion Tito Rabat, who is stepping up to MotoGP with the Belgian team.

Morbidelli collided with Rabat at the final turn in Germany, before claiming his first grand prix podium next time out at Indianapolis. However he has been sidelined since Brno due to a broken leg in a motocross accident.

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The logic behind signing Morbidelli is clear: The Italian consistently outpaced Mika Kallio at Italtrans, while Kallio had challenged Rabat for the title when they were team-mates at Marc VDS.

2016 will be Morbidelli's third season in Moto2 and the second for Marquez, young brother of MotoGP champion Marc Marquez.

The 19-year-old Spaniard was overshadowed by fellow rookie and former Moto3 team-mate Alex Rins for much of this season, but has been more competitive since a fourth place at Brno.

"Alex has shown with his progress since the summer break that he will be a contender next season, which was exactly how it was planned from the start," said team principal Michael Bartholemy.

"However, he won't have it all his own way, of that I'm sure, because Franco is also one of the riders that I expect to see running at the front and challenging for wins next season. After all, that's why we signed him!

"I think for the fans the 2016 Moto2 season will be an exciting one, as we have four or five riders in the class who are more than capable of fighting for the race win every weekend."

Team president Marc van der Straten added: "I am looking forward to Franco's arrival in the team. We were lucky enough to spend some time with him recently and I was impressed by both his determination and his attitude. He will fit perfectly into our racing family and I'm confident he'll realise his full potential with us in 2016."

Morbidelli will return to Moto2 action at next weekend's Australian Grand Prix, when Marc VDS are expected to announce that Jack Miller is to join Rabat at their MotoGP team.