MotoGP star Franco Morbidelli will bring his two-wheel expertise to next month’s FIA World Rally Championship finale at ACI Rally Monza (3 – 6 December).
The Italian, who is bidding to secure the MotoGP runners-up spot at this weekend’s final round in Portugal after three race wins this season, will drive a Hyundai i20 R5 at the asphalt encounter on his first competitive rally.
The Withu Motorsport rider is a stablemate of Hyundai Rally Team Italia’s Umberto Scandola, who has driven in WRC 3 this season.
Both took part in a promotional event in June at Ciocco in Tuscany, which also featured Hyundai Motorsport’s Dani Sordo. Morbidelli was fired up by a World Rally Car co-drive alongside the Spaniard and is excited about his WRC debut.
“I am electrified by the chance of taking part in a real round of the World Rally Championship,” said the Yamaha rider. “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.
“These are chances that happen a few times over a lifetime. I will follow a crash course from Umberto Scandola to reach the first test as ready as possible,” he added.
Hyundai Rally Team Italia team principal Riccardo Scandola admitted Morbidelli would not find it easy to switch from two wheels to four.
“We are working hard to allow Franco to get some confidence with what is going to be his office for four days. This is going to be a big challenge for the whole team, but I am pretty sure that it will also be good fun,” he enthused.
Morbidelli, who will celebrate his 26th birthday on Monza’s first full day of action, is in his third season of MotoGP after claiming the Moto2 title in 2017.
• Full coverage from ACI Rally Monza will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.