The relaxed smile after Morbidelli's victory is as sweet as the lines he drew with his M1 at Misano. After a year spent in the shadow of Quartararo, Franco today took his ‘revenge’, showing class and maturity. His race was a samba between the curbs, to keep faith with his Brazilian ancestry, at a pace that no one was able to keep. The reward was a victory, his first in MotoGP.
"I have always dreamed of it but I have never been obsessed with it - he said - I have always looked only to the next step to take and this weekend was the victory. I focused on every little detail to prepare for the race and once I started I felt good, I was fluid and consistent. A beautiful feeling ".
In the early laps you had to contend with Rossi…
“He put a lot of pressure on me, it was like having a pitchfork in my butt (laughs). We didn't disturb each other and we pulled out a gap, then I broke away from him too and that was an even bigger surprise ”.
What did you think in those laps on your own?
“A lot of things, it was a kind of psychology session (laughs). The first thought was for all the people who have helped me in my career, who believed in me. Seven years ago I was winning on this same track, but I was in the Italian championship, in Superstock. The curve of my career has been very short and steep, I have to thank the VR46 Academy, my girlfriend, her family, my family, my mom, because they did a great job with me, they pushed me to the maximum ".
Did you also think of your dad who is no longer here?
“This victory is also for him, he taught me to be strong and tough. I have never been crushed by this environment because the people around me never rushed me, they gave me the right opportunities at the right time. Without them I would not be here ”.
With Rossi on the podium, would the day have been even better?
“I'm happy for Mir, but with Valentino it would have been a perfect day for the Riders Academy. I'm also happy for Pecco, I know what he's been through this month and he did a fantastic job ”.
In MotoGP you and Bagnaia in front of everyone, in Moto2 Marini and Bezzecchi, what is the secret of the Academy?
“The key is that the greatest rider in the world decided to commit to this project and the result is that almost all the young Italians come from there. Valentino is a champion who makes his facilities and experience available to us, it is a noble gesture. He is a friend, but I call him an uncle because of the respect I have for him ”.
With all these thoughts, didn't you risk being distracted?
"Actually the last thing in my head was the track, I couldn't concentrate but the pace remained constant despite the fact I had my head in the clouds, maybe today someone wanted me to win. It usually works like this for me: when I slow down then I get my concentration back. They were the 10 most important laps of my career, of my life, and I enjoyed it so much ".
Weren't you surprised that Vinales and Quartararo weren't in the fight?
“I don't worry about them, just about myself, about my result. In practice they seemed to have the best pace of all, but what matters is the race. I'm glad it was me who was the fastest today”.
So is it better not to start as favourite?
“I'd rather be favourite, because it means that you have shown your strength in practice, but today I was an outsider. The truth is that Maverick and Fabio had shown incredible strength, they did very fast laps with the same ease with which you drink a glass of water ".
Tonight you'll have to celebrate, will you let your Brazilian soul out?
"We have tests on Tuesday, so it's better to stay Italian, or become Japanese (laughs)".
You are the only Yamaha rider who does not have a factory bike, is that a disadvantage?
“I don't know what the differences are, I can only say thanks to Yamaha for the bike I have because it allowed me to win a race, it's still a great bike. I certainly think the factory M1 is better, it's the most updated one, but I'm satisfied with what I have ”.
Do you think the other riders have changed their perception of you after this victory?
“I'm proud of what I've done, but I don't think too much about what the others think of me, I'm focused on doing my job”.
And by your side you have Ramon Forcada ...
“He is a phenomenon, he has incredible experience, skills and intelligence. I like working with him, he's sharp and the whole team works well. He's a great person, maybe he’s not as young as other technicians, but if you understand his way of thinking, a world opens up for you”.
You are the 5th different winner in 6 races, what do you expect from this championship?
"It's a real battle, there are many strong riders and bikes and not a clear master. They say it seems that nobody wants to win this title but I think it's the opposite: everyone wants to win it ”.