Morbidelli "didn't think it was possible" to make Misano MotoGP start

Yamaha's Franco Morbidelli admits he "didn't think it was possible" to start last Sunday's MotoGP San Marino Grand Prix after a "really tough" warm-up session on his injured knee.

Morbidelli has been out of action since June's Dutch TT after undergoing surgery on a left knee injury, and made his return at Misano last weekend – which also happened to be his debut with the factory Yamaha team as Maverick Vinales' replacement.

The three-time MotoGP race winner qualified 16th and was 18th in the race, 36.2 seconds from the victory on what he described as a "good weekend" all things considered.

However, Morbidelli admits he didn't think he would actually make the race having struggled badly with his injury knee in the warm-up session.

"It was a good weekend for me, it was great to come back on the bike, to come back racing after so much time, to jump on a new bike, with a new team, with an injury that has not recovered," he began.

"And then the race, I'm already happy with that and actually this morning it has been really tough warm-up for me, and I didn't think it was possible to make the race.

"But with the adrenaline and some painkillers we managed to do it, and we managed to do it with a consistent pace.

"Yes, we were with Valentino [Rossi], but I would say it was great for me because I just jumped on this bike and I'm still recovering from an injury and I stayed on the couch for three months.

"And actually, the race gave me a lot of information about the bike, I was able to appreciate the bike better, and in fact I like it.

"It's a more of a fighter bike, and I like that, and it gave me the chance to understand a little bit more what I need from it.

"It was a great weekend, great to be back. And now we will try to up our game step-by-step."

Franco Morbidelli, Yamaha Factory Racing

Franco Morbidelli, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Morbidelli says he had no expectations for the grand prix, but feels he was right to accelerate his recovery period in order to not "miss some skills".

"I'm a guy that struggles with expectations, I just do things and see how it comes out, and if the result is not good I try to make it better," he added."And if the result is good, I try to enjoy it.

"This weekend was really important to jump back on a MotoGP [bike], because this category is tough and if you miss half a year I was supposed to miss, you will miss also many, many things under the point of view of the riding that I don't want to miss, and you will miss some skills; the eye on the battle, just the speed, some things I didn't want to miss.

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"So, I've definitely forced the [recovery] times, but I think we did the right choice because I was able to make a quite linear weekend.

"I was able to stay on the bike, I was able to understand, make a whole race.

"I know the position is not excellent, it's not good, but these guys are 24 animals, and you cannot expect to stay on the couch for three months and jump on a new bike with a new crew and be in the game."

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