Morbidelli: Yamaha didn’t owe me factory ride, but I deserve it

Franco Morbidelli admits Yamaha “didn’t owe me” factory status in MotoGP, despite his form on an old M1, but he believes he “deserved” it.

Listen to this article

Morbidelli will end the 2021 season as a factory Yamaha rider having been promoted from Petronas SRT to take the seat formerly occupied by Maverick Vinales before his axing last month.

On Thursday, Yamaha also confirmed it had signed Morbidelli onto a two-year factory deal through to the end of 2023.

Morbidelli was top Yamaha runner in 2020 in second in the standings with three victories despite riding effectively the 2019 bike, having had the works support he was meant to have changed at the start of the year.

Despite his 2020 success, Yamaha kept him on the ‘A-spec’ version of the M1, with Morbidelli still able to managed a podium at Jerez and a fourth in Portugal on a two-year-old bike before injury curtailed his season in June.

When asked by Motorsport.com ahead of this weekend’s San Marino Grand Prix – which Morbidelli won last year – if he felt he was owed factory status given everything he’s been through at SRT, he replied: “I felt I deserved it. I felt I definitely deserved it, and I spoke openly with all the people inside Yamaha.

“Finally, we’re here. So, they didn’t owe me anything, I just felt I deserved something, but for sure Yamaha didn’t owe me anything.”

Franco Morbidelli, Petronas Yamaha SRT

Franco Morbidelli, Petronas Yamaha SRT

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Morbidelli admits the situation with Vinales’ suspension and ultimately the immediate end of his relationship with Yamaha “added some pepper” to things in MotoGP, but refused to divulge exactly what he thought it could have meant for his own career at the time.

The Italian has been absent since the Dutch TT in June after undergoing an operation on a knee injury he sustained earlier in the year in training.

Originally scheduled to miss three races, that hiatus turned into five grands prix, with Morbidelli admitting he is still struggling to bend his left knee.

“Well, we’ve been focusing quite a lot on the recovery,” Morbidelli said of his time on the sidelines with injury.

“The injury is not that big of a deal, it’s quite a usual injury, but it takes a long time to recover.

“So, we focused on forcing that recovery time. For sure the main thing is the knee bending, it’s difficult to bend the knee.

“But we’ve been forcing and we’ve been focusing quite a lot that, and also keeping an eye on the overall physical shape. We will see this weekend what job we have done.”

Morbidelli confirmed he will work with Vinales’ crew chief Silvano Galbusera for the rest of the 2021 campaign and will not bring Ramon Forcada back to the factory squad (having worked with Vinales previously, as well as Jorge Lorenzo) this year.

He says this was a team decision to avoid making further big changes amidst an already-chaotic period for both Yamaha and SRT.

Read Also:

shares
comments

Related video

Honda “needs to follow” Marquez on bike development – Espargaro
Previous article

Honda “needs to follow” Marquez on bike development – Espargaro

Next article

Marc Marquez “not enjoying” riding in MotoGP right now

Marc Marquez “not enjoying” riding in MotoGP right now
Ranking the top 10 MotoGP riders of 2022 Prime

Ranking the top 10 MotoGP riders of 2022

The 2022 MotoGP season was another hotly contested championship, with Francesco Bagnaia emerging as the title winner after the campaign went to the wire. Motorsport.com picks out the 10 best performers of the season

Was the MotoGP 2022 title won by Bagnaia or lost by Quartararo? Prime

Was the MotoGP 2022 title won by Bagnaia or lost by Quartararo?

Reigning MotoGP world champion Fabio Quartararo had a 91-point lead over rival Francesco Bagnaia after the German Grand Prix, a seemingly impregnable gap to overcome in the remaining 10 races. But as the Frenchman struggled for pace with his Yamaha, Bagnaia stormed back into contention and swept to Ducati's first riders' title since 2007

MotoGP
Nov 25, 2022
Why there's more to Honda's 2023 MotoGP bike than the Valencia test suggests Prime

Why there's more to Honda's 2023 MotoGP bike than the Valencia test suggests

After a run on Honda's 2023 prototype MotoGP bike, six-time champion Marc Marquez made his pessimism clear with his initial reaction. But the Japanese marque has made leadership changes behind closed doors - and a more representative bike promised for the Malaysia test in February could placate Marquez.

MotoGP
Nov 23, 2022
Why new MotoGP champion Bagnaia has a stronger character than it seems Prime

Why new MotoGP champion Bagnaia has a stronger character than it seems

While new MotoGP champion Francesco Bagnaia might not be the loudest rider on the grid, his calm exterior belies a steely backbone. His part in turning around Ducati's fortunes at the start of the year, when displeased with a new engine concept, shows the strength of his character.

MotoGP
Nov 16, 2022
Why Bagnaia's MotoGP triumph is as worthy as Stoner's Ducati breakthrough Prime

Why Bagnaia's MotoGP triumph is as worthy as Stoner's Ducati breakthrough

OPINION: Despite the superiority exhibited by the Ducati in 2022, the context in which Francesco Bagnaia became MotoGP world champion means that both the rider and the Italian marque merit the same recognition that the brand and Casey Stoner received after their 2007 title

MotoGP
Nov 9, 2022
Why the 2022 MotoGP season had a bittersweet ending Prime

Why the 2022 MotoGP season had a bittersweet ending

OPINION: MotoGP’s fifth last round showdown of the modern era delivered a tense finale despite the predictable outcome, as Francesco Bagnaia ended 15 years of pain for Ducati. But as emotions ran high for the Italian marque, a final victory for a departing Japanese rival tinged the campaign’s conclusion with sadness.

MotoGP
Nov 7, 2022
Why the 2023 MotoGP title battle has already begun Prime

Why the 2023 MotoGP title battle has already begun

Since Ducati announced the arrival of Enea Bastianini to its factory team for 2023, the staging of the four-time race winner has strained the atmosphere within the Italian manufacturer, which has raised its guard in anticipation of what may happen between him and championship favourite Francesco Bagnaia.

MotoGP
Nov 1, 2022
Why Yamaha has just six months to safeguard Quartararo's future Prime

Why Yamaha has just six months to safeguard Quartararo's future

Yamaha's decision to dispense pre-season with the 2022 engine it had intended to use due to lack of reliability, the promises of improvement to Fabio Quartararo and the advance with which the rider market moves leaves the Japanese brand with less than six months to prevent the Frenchman from starting to look for a way out

MotoGP
Oct 28, 2022