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MotoGP British GP

Morbidelli “questioning myself” before losing Yamaha MotoGP seat

Yamaha rider Franco Morbidelli says he was “questioning himself” before losing his MotoGP seat to Alex Rins for 2024.

Franco Morbidelli, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

The Italian has been associated with Yamaha since 2019, when he joined the Petronas SRT satellite squad having made his premier class debut in 2018 with Marc VDS Honda.

It was announced on Wednesday that Morbidelli will make way for LCR Honda rider Rins next season, who will partner 2021 world champion Fabio Quartararo.

Speaking ahead of the British Grand Prix, Morbidelli said he had been questioning his future before the team “made it easier for me” by opting for former Suzuki rider Rins next year.

“You know of course, it’s no secret that we’re not performing well and the package is not on par to achieve great results at the moment," said Morbidelli.

“So it’s no secret that fact, plus the fact that the factory was speaking with other riders and that for sure reduced the magic.

“As I said after Mugello, do I want to stay with Yamaha, so I was questioning myself for sure. But I have to say, the team made it easier for me, not renewing and going with Alex, which is a great rider.

“So this boost on the changing, this help on the changing, is happening right now. Now, for sure, I’m a little bit on an uncomfortable position, because I have no seat for next year at the moment, but that can be an extra motivation for this second half of the season.”

Speaking after Morbidelli’s departure was announced, Yamaha team boss Lin Jarvis told motogp.com: “It was the team’s decision to make a change, and in my personal feeling that was something the team didn’t have to do but decided to do.

“But I think it could play out well for both parties, because if you’re not able to perform as a rider, sometimes changing the scene and the motivation may also be good for the rider as well as the team.

“So, let’s see. It was just time to make a change.”

Franco Morbidelli, Yamaha Factory Racing

Franco Morbidelli, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Morbidelli, who is a Valentino Rossi protege, hopes to stay in MotoGP next year, with the VR46 team a possibility if a rumoured move to another Ducati team for Marco Bezzecchi comes off.

The 28-year-old said he feels strong and experienced in the category, and hopes to repeat his 2020 success, where he finished second in the championship with three wins behind Joan Mir.

He said: “Yeah, that’s my aim. I feel strong, I feel experienced.

“I’m 28, so relatively young and I had some great emotions in this category and I had the chance to fight for the championship without even realising it, it was a trip.

“I would like to experience that again and I’m working towards that again and I’m sure that VR46, not the team, the management, is going to help me at their best to redeem myself and go back to fighting for interesting spots.”

He added: “I try to do my best always. It hasn’t been so tough, just because maybe tough on the side that I received a lot of sorry looks from some people, from many people, and that makes me feel sorry.

“But that’s okay, that’s how this world goes, and there is always something that motivates you. And for sure, the fact that I’m a free agent now, let’s say, it’s a kind of motivation.”

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