Early MotoGP retirement for Dovizioso

Andrea Dovizioso. Picture: MotoGP.com

Yamaha has announced Andrea Dovizioso’s retirement from MotoGP, effective after next month’s San Marino Grand Prix.

The 36-year-old Italian had already confirmed he will “not race” in 2023 but, as it turns out, will only partake in three of the nine remaining rounds this season.

That means he will bow out on home soil at Misano, after which Yamaha test rider Cal Crutchlow will take over the factory-spec YZR-M1 which is fielded by RNF for the balance of the 2022 campaign.

Yamaha Motor Racing Managing Director Lin Jarvis said, “I want to start by saying that, of course, we are all sad that Andrea will be leaving the sport earlier than expected.

“He is a big name in MotoGP, and he will be missed in the paddock.

“We considered ourselves very lucky last year that he was available and willing to join our MotoGP programme when Franky [Franco Morbidelli] switched to the Yamaha Factory Team thus creating the need for a replacement rider for the remainder of the 2021 season.

“Andrea’s great expertise, experience, and methodical nature were of great interest to Yamaha and the RNF team and the project was fixed to include the full 2022 season.

“Unfortunately, Andrea has struggled to extract the maximum potential out of the M1 and thus the results have not been forthcoming, which has created understandable frustration for Andrea.

“Finally, during the summer break, he confirmed to us his desire to retire before the end of the season.

“After mutual discussions it was deemed appropriate for Andrea to ride his final race in Misano at his home GP.

“Naturally, Yamaha will continue to give ’Dovi’ their full support over the next three races.

“In the meantime, let’s enjoy his last three GPs and celebrate in Misano the end of a spectacular career.”

As Jarvis noted, Dovizioso joined the Iwata marque midway through last season, after Maverick Viñales was axed over his Red Bull Ring engine incident and Franco Morbidelli thus moved up from the satellite team.

Before then, the Italian had been on ‘sabbatical’ after an eight-year spell at Ducati, during which he finished second to Marc Marquez in the championship on three occasions and scored 14 of his 15 premier class race wins.

He retires as a champion of the lightweight class, back in the 125cc days in 2004, but is currently 22nd in the MotoGP championship.

“I thank Lin for his words, I totally agree with them,” said Dovizioso, who also rode a Yamaha a decade ago for Tech3.

“In 2012, the experience with the Iwata manufacturer in MotoGP had been very positive for me and since then I have always thought that, sooner or later, I would have liked to have an official contract with Yamaha.

“This possibility presented itself, actually in a somewhat daring way, during 2021. I decided to give it a try because I strongly believed in this project and in the possibility of doing well.

“Unfortunately, in recent years MotoGP has changed profoundly. The situation is very different since then: I have never felt comfortable with the bike, and I have not been able to make the most of its potential despite the precious and continuous help from the team and the whole of Yamaha.

“The results were negative, but beyond that, I still consider it a very important life experience. When there are so many difficulties, you need to have the ability to manage the situation and your emotions well.

“We did not reach the desired objectives, but the consultations with the Yamaha technicians and with those of my team have always been positive and constructive, both for them and for me.

“The relationship remained loyal and professionally interesting even in the most critical moments: it was not so obvious that that would happen.

“For all this and for their support, I thank Yamaha, the RNF Racing Team, WithU, and the other sponsors involved in the project.

“It didn’t go as we hoped, but it was right to try.

“My adventure will end in Misano, but the relationship with all the people involved in this challenge will remain intact forever. Thank you all.”

The British Grand Prix takes place this weekend.

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