Coming off a decent fifth place during the 2020 MotoGP season opener in Jerez, Spain, sadly followed by a Did Not Finish (DNF) the following weekend, Franco Morbidelli of Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team (SRT) remains confident and positive. Going into a consecutive third weekend of racing, this time at Brno, Czech Republic, Morbidelli, along with team mate Fabio Quartararo, have done a Petronas SRT one-two in free practice and favours his chances of a podium finish.
“Yes, this is a different type of season for everyone with not many races but it’s not better, it’s not worse but it is different and everybody has to adapt to this kind of championship and just ride,” said Morbidelli, in an exclusive interview with paultan.org. Speaking on his DNF, Morbidelli did not lay the blame on any quarter, save bad luck.
“It was a thing that could happen to anybody, a technical problem. I cannot blame anybody for this, just a little bit the luck,” he said. Putting a positive spin on things, Morbidelli said, “it was unfortunate but we have seen that I was able to fight for the podium in (the first race) at Jerez and I was there fighting for the podium in (the second race) in Jerez.
Morbidelli believes a good start could have put him in a better position to gain better results. “Both weekends were really encouraging for us and is proof the work we have done this winter and this lockdown was good work and it paid off in this first two race weekends,” explained Morbidelli.
Asked about race settings on the Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP race bike, with reference to riders who prefer to use their own settings as opposed to those dictated by the technical personnel in the team, Morbidelli laughs and says, “I don’t, I do my business, I try to setup my bike the best and do my job in the best way.”
Speaking on Brno, Morbidelli is aware it is a very different track to Jerez. “It has a little bit less slow acceleration which we were suffering a bit in Jerez. So, I’m really curious to see how we can be in (Brno). There are a little more long straight but not too long actually,” Morbidelli said.
Asked if he favours his chances against team mate Quartararo who currently sits at the top of the leader board with 50 points in two races and the rest of the Yamaha riders, Morbidelli was a little more cautious. “The answer is, I don’t know (laughs). I will try.”
However, Morbidelli is confident about his own performance. “The zero we did in the Jerez (second race) was a big shame. If we had finished the race just in the place where we were, which I find unlikely because we were coming up real fast (through the grid), we would have been third in the championship right now,” said Morbidelli.
“Points are really important in such a short championship. We are facing this championship race by race, we have to do our best to make a spot on weekend and we we will see where we are after this weekend,” he said. “We will not make any calculation about the championship right now, we just have to do the maximum in every race we can,” Morbidelli explained.
Talking about the possibility of a certain multiple world champion coming into Petronas SRT next year as his team mate, and the likelihood of being faster than the said rider, Morbidelli has a bit of chuckle and says, “I try to be faster than everybody. I try to do the maximum that I can. As I told you before, I try to do my business, I do my thing, I do the best work I can do.”
As a new rider to MotoGP, at the start of his top flight racing career, Morbidelli is aware many other riders have an edge over him in racing experience. “I try to play my cards right, use my strong points in my favour. Yes, I have less experience than some other riders in the field but it does not necessarily mean I will lose the fight to them in the race,” says Morbidelli.
“Experience is not something you can get in a short time, but you can get in a shorter in time if you can learn from your mistakes. I’m trying to consolidate every step I do on the bike. I try to learn and know why and how I did it. I believe I have some strong cards against the other riders,” he continues.
Coming off practice in Brno, Morbidelli is second fastest in the timings with some testing on tyre compounds in FP2. “I didn’t have any engine problems today and hopefully not in this weekend and we will see what happens,” Morbidelli said.
Touching a little on his personal life, Morbidelli says he is lucky to have his friends and family close to him where he lives in Italy. “I spend my time with my family, my friends and that is important. There is nothing better.
Morbidelli also confesses to liking both cats and dogs. “That is a difficult question for me to answer,” when asked about whether he prefers dogs or cats, “I have both and I like both.”