How SRT can convince Dovizioso to join its MotoGP team

Petronas' withdrawal and Yamaha's desire to promote Franco Morbidelli to its factory MotoGP team this season has opened the door for the return of Andrea Dovizioso at SRT.

How SRT can convince Dovizioso to join its MotoGP team

The turbulent outcome of the relationship between Maverick Vinales and Yamaha, who has parted ways with the Spaniard with immediate effect following his suspension from the Austrian Grand Prix, has foreshadowed a series of bizarre chain of events.

The divorce with Vinales has left a void in the factory Yamaha garage, which will be temporarily filled by the retired Cal Crutchlow, the team's test rider, who replaced the injured Morbidelli at the last two rounds.

This weekend's British GP will see Jake Dixon make his MotoGP debut at SRT, a circumstance that is not exactly endearing to his own team members and is a result of Crutchlow being drafted into the factory team.

Pending the recovery of Morbidelli, who is still undergoing rehabilitation after surgery on his left knee in June, Yamaha plans to recruit him to its factory team immediately, as soon as he is fit to race again ahead of his expected full-time promotion in 2022.

With this, Yamaha is aiming to score as many points as possible between now and the end of the year as it seeks to fight for the teams' championship it currently leads and the constructors' championship.

Franco Morbidelli, Petronas Yamaha SRT

Franco Morbidelli, Petronas Yamaha SRT

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

That and Crutchlow's refusal to return full-time has opened a door through which Dovizioso, who is serving a sabbatical year after failing to renew his contract with Ducati at the end of 2020, can squeeze in.

Dovizioso is currently working as a test rider for Aprilia, although the 15-time MotoGP race winner's performance to date has not convinced the Noale factory and the door to a race ride in 2022 has been shut following the signing of Vinales.

Simone Battistella, Dovizioso's manager, has held a series of meetings in recent weeks with SRT officials to explore the possibility of the #04 rider filling the gap that Morbidelli will leave in the remaining races of 2021.

The slamming of the door by Petronas, the team's main financial backer, signals a change in SRT's sporting policy, which will move away from the maxim of focusing only on young riders, to open up the range of candidates.

The departure of the Malaysian sponsor and its possible replacement by Withu, who would increase its visibility in the project, would fit perfectly with the incorporation of Dovizioso.

The problem, in this case, lies in the demands of the rider, especially with a view to his continuation in 2022.

Andrea Dovizioso, Aprilia

Andrea Dovizioso, Aprilia

Photo by: Aprilia Racing

Before the earthquake caused by the departure of Vinales from Yamaha and Petronas's exit, SRT had agreed on two M1s for the next season.

One of them, the one that was to correspond to Morbidelli was the so-called 'A' specification or factory-supported M1, while the other was to be a year-old bike as is SRT's current arrangement with Yamaha.

However, the hole that will be left by Petronas means SRT is now set to receive 'B-spec' bikes only in 2022.

Two scenarios are now on the table for SRT. The first is that it would lead Dovizioso to contest the remaining races of this 2021, and to compete next year with that factory M1.

The second is that Dovizioso, SRT and Yamaha do not come to an understanding, and whoever the satellite team chooses for next year will ride two 'B' Yamaha machines.

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