The Italian rider will make his first MotoGP start since leaving Ducati at the end of 2020 but has conducted tests for Aprilia in the intervening period this year.
The various movements within the Yamaha squad, following Maverick Vinales’ mid-season departure to Aprilia, have allowed Dovizioso the chance to ride the Petronas SRT bike vacated by Franco Morbidelli, who now steps up to the factory team to partner former team-mate Fabio Quartararo.
Dovizioso says that although he was significantly more “relaxed” during his time away, he could not resist the lure of the chance to ride with Yamaha, nor the chance to experience factory machinery next season.
He also added that, after racing a Yamaha for the satellite Tech3 operation in 2012, he wanted to become a factory rider with the Japanese manufacturer – but his hopes were dashed after Valentino Rossi returned to the team after a difficult Ducati spell.
“I was feeling good at home, I was doing what I like, my passions, and I was a bit more relaxed – because when you don’t race in MotoGP, you are more relaxed!
“But at the beginning when that [Yamaha] door opened, I thought about that. But I couldn’t say no.
“It was already in 2012, after a good year in a satellite situation, my dream was to be on a factory Yamaha. And it didn’t happen.
“That fixed it for me in my mind to have this chance, after eight years on the same bike it was something I wanted to do and that it was my bike.
“For sure, it’s more risk than the possibility to do good, but I think for a lot of people it’s like that.
“But I don’t care, I race for me; I race because I have the passion to race.
“I am really interested to feel and ride a completely different bike. And I don’t think I have any problems about that.”
Andrea Dovizioso, Yamaha
“What happened this year, I’m happy to be in this situation,” Dovizioso added.
“For sure, it’s not the best start to a race weekend because after eight years on the same bike, it all takes time.
“On another side I’m lucky because I’m able to do five races, two tests before the next season, which is what I am looking forward to.”
Dovizioso also explained his decision not to pursue a full-time return with Aprilia, following his test outings for the Italian manufacturer.
Aprilia duly signed Vinales, who now partners Aleix Espargaro at the team after Lorenzo Savadori was relegated to testing duties.
“I didn’t want race for them in 2021,” Dovizioso recalled. “That’s why I stayed home.
“Massimo [Rivola, Aprilia Racing CEO] is a really good person, and he pushed me to ‘try the bike, try the bike, try the bike’ – and at the end he won!
“It was a good idea. My manager pushed for that because it was a good idea for both. But I didn’t approach this to race. It wasn’t the situation I wanted, but not because Aprilia wasn’t good.
“I knew what I wanted; I wanted something not possible at the beginning of the season. But that thing has happened. I’m lucky, I’m happy.”