It hasn’t been Franco Morbidelli’s year. After a tough first half of the MotoGP season that currently sees him in 11th place, he underwent successful knee surgery after a training incident on June 22.
As we reported on June 23, 2021, the Petronas YamahaSRT rider was to undergo tests after he reinjured his left knee in an undisclosed training incident. This is the same knee that has caused him troubles in the last several weeks, resulting in the slipping of his knee cap.
The tests revealed the need for surgery on his meniscus and anterior cruciate ligaments, which took place over the course of an hour on Friday, June 25. The prognosis includes an eight-week rehabilitation period.
“As many of you know, I will not race in Assen this weekend after having another painful knee slip episode in training,” Morbidelli wrote on his Instagram feed. “I feel it is for me the right time to fix this bothering injury… I will try to come back ASAP and in the best form possible!”
Morbidelli’s latest injury stems from an incident in early May at Valentino Rossi’s VR46 moto ranch, where many of Rossi’s VR46 racers and instructors participate in weekly flat track races. The injury came to light on May 15 when Morbidelli was practicing a bike swap in pit lane at the Grand Prix de France. “When I went to swap bikes and I stomped on my left leg, the knee felt like it wanted to pop out,” Morbidelli explained at the time.
Morbidelli, who has one podium in 2021 after being runner-up in the 2020 world championship, will miss this weekend's Dutch GP at Assen. The timing seemed close to ideal, with MotoGP taking a six-week summer break after this round, but the Italian rider will still likely miss the next two August rounds in Austria.
American superbike racer Garrett Gerloff, who currently races with the GRT Yamaha team in World Superbike, is replacing Morbidelli at Assen.