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Morbidelli has until summer to secure his MotoGP future with Yamaha

Though there is “no deadline”, Yamaha MotoGP boss Lin Jarvis says “we need to be clear” about Franco Morbidelli’s future by the summer break.

Franco Morbidelli, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

The 2020 championship runner-up has been under pressure to retain his factory Yamaha seat beyond 2023, having endured a lacklustre campaign in 2022 and a largely underwhelming season so far this year.

After a strong weekend in Argentina, in which he was fourth in qualifying, the sprint race and the grand prix, Morbidelli’s Yamaha future was called into question again when the Japanese marque put World Superbike champion Toprak Razgatlioglu on the M1 at a private test at Jerez.

FEATURE: 10 things we learned from the MotoGP Americas Grand Prix

Razgatlioglu was reportedly just under two seconds shy of KTM’s Dani Pedrosa and under a second down on Yamaha tester Cal Crutchlow at the end of the two-day test.

During the Americas Grand Prix weekend, Jarvis told MotoGP’s world feed that Yamaha wants to continue with Morbidelli and is working closely with Valentino Rossi to try to help the three-time race winner improve his form.

“I really can’t tell you anything,” Jarvis said when asked if any talks had taken place between Yamaha and Morbidelli.

“We’re always in contact with all of the managers in the paddock, knowing what’s going on, what the contracts and options are.

“But our priority is Franky and we’re in contact with Valentino himself. Valentino, I spent a lot of time talking to him last week [prior to the Americas GP].

“He’s going to try to help Franky, the [VR46] Academy is going to try to help Franky to basically do what he did [in Argentina].

“That’s it, that’s all he has to do, to basically be fast. So, I think he has the capacity, and we will focus our minds on that.

“I think for everybody we need to kind of be clear before the summer break, because if it's Franky, great, we’ll reconfirm.

“If it’s not Franky, he needs to know because he needs to look elsewhere, we need to line somebody up.

“So, there is no deadline, but generally speaking we would say before the summer break.”

Toprak Razgatlioglu, Pata Yamaha WorldSBK

Toprak Razgatlioglu, Pata Yamaha WorldSBK

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Despite testing Razgatlioglu, who has expressed a desire to race in MotoGP one day, Jarvis suggests the Turk is not top of the list to replace Morbidelli as Yamaha will still likely only have two bikes on the grid next year.

“The biggest problem I would say for us anyway is whether we have a spot, because ideally… we’ve only got two bikes on the grid, I think it’s difficult for us to get a satellite team on the grid next year,” he added.

“So, we will have two spots only and both of those two spots we will need somebody who is going to be fast straight away, and perhaps Toprak will need more time to get up to speed.

“So, it’s a difficult call and ideally for us we want Franky to run the rest of the season with us and maintain the speed that he showed in Argentina.

“So, I don’t know and I don’t think Toprak knows.

“I would say we don’t know yet, it’s still too early to say. If we were to select Toprak, he would definitely need to spend more time on the bike.

"Otherwise, we are banking on Franky right now and if it’s not Franky, we will see.”

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When asked if Pramac Ducati’s Jorge Martin is an option amid rumours the Spaniard could make a switch, Jarvis said: “He’s very good, but there are a lot of very good riders out there and it could be somebody from the MotoGP grid.

“You might also consider somebody from Moto2, that would be more of an outside bet. There are different candidates, but I don’t want to enter into names at this stage as it will only fuel speculations, and our priority is Franky.”

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