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.

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
Load comments
How Quartararo cast aside prior doubts to become MotoGP's new king Prime

How Quartararo cast aside prior doubts to become MotoGP's new king

Doubts were cast over Yamaha’s French recruit after his disastrous end to the 2020 MotoGP season with Petronas SRT, but Fabio Quartararo answered them convincingly in 2021 to claim a MotoGP title that exhibited both his devastating speed and mental strength

The Rossi-less future MotoGP must now navigate Prime

The Rossi-less future MotoGP must now navigate

Motorcycle racing's greatest showman has left the stage, as Valentino Rossi calls time on his remarkable career on two wheels. But in his successors, all of whom were inspired by 'the Doctor', grand prix racing has vibrant new acts to keep us hooked

MotoGP
Dec 4, 2021
Valentino Rossi’s 10 greatest MotoGP races Prime

Valentino Rossi’s 10 greatest MotoGP races

As the Italian legend finally bows out and retires from MotoGP, it marks the end of one of the most incredible careers in motorsport history. Here is Motorsport.com's pick of his best rides and the stories behind them

MotoGP
Dec 3, 2021
How Ducati has drawn first blood in the 2022 MotoGP title race Prime

How Ducati has drawn first blood in the 2022 MotoGP title race

The 2021 MotoGP season may have only just ended but preparations for 2022 are well underway following a two-day test at Jerez this week. Ducati has hit the ground running while a lack of progress dominated Yamaha’s and world champion Fabio Quartararo’s test. While no battle lines have been drawn yet for 2022, it appears Ducati has already drawn first blood...

MotoGP
Nov 20, 2021
Why Suzuki's quest for a new MotoGP boss may be too late Prime

Why Suzuki's quest for a new MotoGP boss may be too late

Suzuki is on the search for a new team manager after its decision not to replace Davide Brivio at the start of 2021 was backed up by its unsuccessful bid to help Joan Mir defend his 2020 MotoGP world title. But whoever Shinichi Sahara appoints next, it may have already come too late to convince Mir to stick with the project

MotoGP
Nov 19, 2021
How Rossi got the perfect send-off to his MotoGP career Prime

How Rossi got the perfect send-off to his MotoGP career

The greatest chapter in MotoGP history came to a close at the Valencia Grand Prix as Valentino Rossi bid farewell after 26 seasons of grand prix racing. While his run to a strong 10th was a pleasing end to his time in MotoGP, it was what happened at the front of the grid that capped the Italian's ideal send-off

MotoGP
Nov 15, 2021
Why MotoGP's under-fire graduate has a point to prove Prime

Why MotoGP's under-fire graduate has a point to prove

OPINION: MotoGP-bound Darryn Binder was already under the microscope as his jump from Moto3 to join RNF's new top-class team was announced. But his crash with title hopeful Dennis Foggia caused significant consternation among the ranks - with many current riders suggesting the top level should be harder to break into as a result

MotoGP
Nov 9, 2021
How Portugal exposed the biggest threat to Quartararo Prime

How Portugal exposed the biggest threat to Quartararo

Fabio Quartararo’s first DNF of his title-winning 2021 MotoGP season couldn’t have come at a better time. But the events of the Yamaha rider’s Algarve Grand Prix exposed the M1’s well-known major weakness, which could threaten his championship defence given the increasingly Ducati-heavy makeup of the grid heading into 2022

MotoGP
Nov 8, 2021