Rallying-MotoGP rider Morbidelli to race with Hyundai in final WRC round in Monza

Nov 21 (Reuters) - Petronas Yamaha’s MotoGP rider Franco Morbidelli will participate in the World Rally Championship (WRC) for the first time in his career at Rally Monza with Hyundai Rally Team Italia, WRC said on Saturday.

The final race of the rallying season is being held from Dec. 3-6 and the 25-year-old will be competing in the WRC3 class in a Hyundai i20 R5.

“I’m electrified by the chance of taking part in a real round of the World Rally Championship,” Morbidelli said. “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.”

Morbidelli will first be looking to seal runners-up spot at the season-ending Portuguese Grand Prix this weekend after Joan Mir clinched the title in the penultimate race in Valencia.

Morbidelli is not the first MotoGP rider to make the switch to rally with seven-times premier class champion Valentino Rossi competing in recent years and also winning the Monza event a record seven times between 2006 and 2018.

“We’re working hard to allow Franco to get some confidence with what is going to be his office for four days,” Hyundai Rally Team Italia team principal Riccardo Scandola said, adding Morbidelli would not find it easy to make the switch.

“This is going to be a big challenge for the whole team, but I am pretty sure that it will also be good fun.” (Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter)