Fresh from his successful season on two wheels, Franco Morbidelli isn’t quite ready to put his feet up and look back on his three MotoGP victories as he prepares to swap to four wheels and the World Rally Championship this weekend.

Morbidelli will line up in a Hyundai i20 R5 courtesy of WithU Motorsport, which partners both the rally outfit and the Italian’s Petronas SRT Yamaha team. 

The outing comes after a ‘skills swap’ earlier in the year when Morbidelli got the chance to try his hand at a spot of off-road racing for the first time, prompting him to throw himself into the challenge of the Monza Rally.

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The Italian event is normally a contained short sprint rally regularly attracting stars from MotoGP and rallying - including Valentino Rossi - but has been expanded this year to double up as the final round of the 2020 WRC series.

“I am electrified by the chance of taking part in a real round of the World Rally Championship,” said Morbidelli. “This is going to be an amazing chance to be among the best drivers in the world and compete in a different sport.

“This is going to be good fun, though I will have to learn quickly a lot of details and it is not going to be easy to adapt to two added wheels in such a short time. These are chances that happen a few times over a lifetime. I will follow a crash course from Umberto Scandola to reach the first test as ready as possible.”

The Italian emerged as one of the standout performers on the Petronas SRT Yamaha this year, breaking his MotoGP victory duck at Misano before following it up with two more well-judged successes at Aragon (Teruel) and in Valencia.

Landing him the runners-up spot overall and top Yamaha status, Morbidelli will continue with his B/A spec Yamaha M1 in 2021, when he will be joined in the team by Rossi.