After being confirmed at the factory Monster Energy Yamaha team for the remainder of 2021, 2022 and 2023 seasons, Franco Morbidelli is set for his first action since June at this weekend’s Misano MotoGP. 

Morbidelli’s return to MotoGP action comes after having left knee surgery to repair ligament damage. 

The former 2017 Moto2 champion originally suffered the injury in Le Mans, before it worsened over the following three events ending in Germany at Sachsenring. 

The Italian takes over from Cal Crutchlow who initially stood in for Maverick Vinales at the second Austrian round and Silverstone, before continuing at last weekend’s AragonGP. 

Morbidelli’s promotion to the factory line-up also sees him re-join current championship leader Fabio Quartararo, with whom he was team-mates with in 2019-20 at Petronas Yamaha. 

Speaking ahead of his return, Morbidelli added: "It’s great to be back. I’ve been missing quite a lot the sport and the people in the paddock. 

"It felt like a long time. I’ve been trying to work at my best to recover and heal up as fast as possible to be here in Misano, which is a track that I really like. 

"It’s a track that I have great memories of, of course. So, it’s just great to be back and I feel quite okay right now with the knee. 

"It’s not that bad but I will have to see what happens tomorrow on track." 

After finishing as MotoGP vice-champion in 2020 - including top Yamaha rider, Morbidelli was placed on a two-year old M1 while all other Yamaha riders started the year on 2021 machinery.

This also came after being promised factory machinery, however, with his move to the factory team now complete, that’s all change for the Italian who ‘felt like I deserved’ it.  

"I felt I deserved that. I felt I definitely deserved that and I spoke openly with all the people in Yamaha,"said Morbidelli. 

"Finally we are here. They didn’t owe me anything but I just felt like I deserved something, but for sure Yamaha didn’t owe me anything."