MotoGP rider Morbidelli to race with Hyundai in final WRC round in Monza

FILE PHOTO: MotoGP - Valencia Grand Prix - Circuit Ricardo Tormo, Valencia, Spain - November 15, 2020 Petronas Yamaha SRT's Franco Morbidelli celebrates on the podium after winning the race REUTERS/Albert Gea/File Photo

(Reuters) - Petronas Yamaha's MotoGP rider Franco Morbidelli will participate in the World Rally Championship (WRC) for the first time in his career at Rally Monza with Hyundai Rally Team Italia, WRC said on Saturday.

The final race of the rallying season is being held from Dec. 3-6 and the 25-year-old will be competing in the WRC3 class in a Hyundai i20 R5.

"I'm electrified by the chance of taking part in a real round of the World Rally Championship," Morbidelli said. "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."

Morbidelli will first be looking to seal runners-up spot at the season-ending Portuguese Grand Prix this weekend after Joan Mir clinched the title in the penultimate race in Valencia.

Morbidelli is not the first MotoGP rider to make the switch to rally with seven-times premier class champion Valentino Rossi competing in recent years and also winning the Monza event a record seven times between 2006 and 2018.

"We're working hard to allow Franco to get some confidence with what is going to be his office for four days," Hyundai Rally Team Italia team principal Riccardo Scandola said, adding Morbidelli would not find it easy to make the switch.

"This is going to be a big challenge for the whole team, but I am pretty sure that it will also be good fun."

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 18
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3

Next In Motorsport

Monaco says F1 grand prix will go ahead this year
Plan to have DEC at Sepang to be re-evaluated
SIC will still send riders to Spain
Marco Andretti steps away from IndyCar to chart own course
Peterhansel extends his record to 14 Dakar victories
French rider Cherpin dies from injuries in Dakar crash
MotoGP adds test days to Qatar schedule
Sports bubble the only solution to SIC’s problem now
Frenchman Peterhansel one stage away from 14th Dakar win
Ferrari's Leclerc isolating after positive COVID-19 test

Stories You'll Enjoy