Andrea Dovizioso has made the shock decision to retire from MotoGP after next month’s San Marino Grand Prix and will be replaced by Yamaha test rider Cal Crutchlow.
Dovizioso joined the RNF satellite team midway through the 2021 season, having left Ducati at the end of 2020 after an eight-year stint where he finished runner-up in the riders’ championship in three successive years.
The 36-year-old has struggled on the Yamaha with a best finish of 11th earlier this year at the Portuguese Grand Prix.
He’s admitted he can’t ride the Yamaha M1 like championship leader Fabio Quartararo and strongly hinted that the 2022 season would be his last in MotoGP.
However, Dovizioso dropped the bombshell news on the eve of the British GP that he’ll walk away after the San Marino GP at Misano next month.
“I have always thought that, sooner or later, I would have liked to have an official contract with Yamaha,” Dovizioso explained.
“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 the 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.”
RNF boss Razlan Razali said he was “sad” to see Dovizioso walk away after some encouraging findings in the last two races before the summer break.
“As we return to the paddock after a five-week break, we were looking forward to work on turning things around for Andrea especially after some positive findings in the last two races,” Razali said.
“Nevertheless, he has made his decision to retire and we respect that. Indeed, we are sad to see a great and experienced rider like Andrea leaving the championship and not ending the season with us.
“But we understand, he has been clear of his struggle to be comfortable with the bike and to suit his riding style to the way the bike needs to be ridden.
“Though we did not manage to reach the desired results together, we are still honoured and pleased to have a big name like Andrea in our team.”
Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis echoed Razali’s gratitude and said the full focus will now be on Dovizioso’s final three MotoGP races.
“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,” Jarvis added.
“We considered ourselves very lucky last year that he was available. 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.”
The 15-time premier class race winner will be replaced by Yamaha test rider Crutchlow who last raced in mid-2021 for both the factory and satellite teams as an injury stand-in.