Dovizioso is “an important name” for MotoGP

Dovizioso is set to make his MotoGP return this weekend at the San Marino Grand Prix at Misano after spending much of 2021 on the sabbatical on sabbatical after losing his Ducati ride late last year.

Although initially running a testing program with Aprilia, Maverick Vinales’ sudden exit from Yamaha and Franco Morbidelli’s promotion to the factory squad opened the door for Dovizioso to return to the grid.

After Dovizioso has signed a contract directly with Yamaha that will lead him to the project emerging from the outgoing Sepang Racing Team until 2022, Dovizioso will end the current season on Morbidelli’s vacated 2019 class M1.

Rossi has previously expressed his delight in sharing a garage with Dovizioso and highlighted the importance of the return of his Italian compatriot in Misano on Thursday.

“I’m very happy to have Andrea as a team-mate, because firstly we have a great relationship and we are great rivals because we will fight together in MotoGP from the first race in 2008,” said Rossi.

“And I think we have a lot of good fights against [each other].

“It’s important for the championship because he’s an important name for the championship, because he’s always been a top driver in recent years.

“And I’m also very curious to see how he feels on the bike.”

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This weekend’s Misano race will be the last of two Rossi to compete on home turf before he retires in late 2021.

The San Marino GP turned out to be one of Rossi’s strongest laps last year, where he was narrowly beaten on the podium by Suzuki’s Joan Mir.

Commenting on his own prospects for the Misano lap this weekend, Rossi said: “Yes, on paper I can be stronger here at Misano because it was difficult in Aragon, but it’s one of the worst tracks for me during the season.

“I’m usually better at Misano, I was good last year too, especially in the first race.

“It was a great race, I was always in the first group and unfortunately I lose the podium on the last lap. But I was competitive, so I’ll definitely try. “