Franco Morbidelli is energized for the Le Mans round. At Montmelò, in the Barcelona GP, he was unable to realize a potential that seemed very high, which at the very least could have taken him onto the podium together with his teammate Fabio Quartararo. An error kept him away from that podium and also allowed the Frenchman to make a bit of a breakaway in the championship standings.
However, Morbidelli is more than confident, he feels good riding the M1 and can't wait to be able to show that he can do all the races with the same consistency he demonstrated at Misano in the round that saw him dominate the Grand Prix. This is the present, but there is also some future in what Morbidelli declared to journalists before the start of hostilities on the track at Le Mans. His M1 was not as fast on the straight as those of Rossi, Quartararo and Vinales at Barcelona and given the spectacular season that Franco is experiencing, it is clear that he is pressing hard to have an M1 identical to the official ones in the future. But this is something that is not certain at the moment.
"We are trying to define this aspect - confirmed Morbidelli - I told my team what I would like, which is an official Yamaha in 2021. But these are things that still need to be defined between the team and Yamaha. We'll see, I don't have an answer. I have expressed my wish ".
There are rumours in the paddock concerning the future of Petronas, with the name of Suzuki being mentioned. How would you see such a change?
"I don't worry much about agreements, contracts. I just need a team and a bike to race with. I’m hearing this for the first time, I never ask questions about the technical situation except for what strictly concerns me and my bike. Rumours are just rumours. I don't trust the rumours too much. Maybe in some of these rumours there is some truth, but you can't trust them."
Speaking of the present, do you think Le Mans is some sort of last resort for your title race?
"As long as the mathematics don’t condemn us, there is always hope and even if Fabio wins twice and I score zero points, I still won't be condemned. For me, until the arithmetic cuts you off, the hope remains alive".
Were you to be out of the fight for the title, would you be willing to help Fabio win the world championship in the last races of the season?
"Honestly, I’m not thinking about it for three specific reasons. The first is that I'm still fighting for the world championship. The second is that the team hasn't asked me for anything like that. Third, because I think it's something that goes against the nature of our sport. For these three reasons, I never thought about it. I have no long-term expectations, ever. My expectations are always about the next step and now all I want is to be strong in France. Then it will be like that for Aragon and so on".
How did the Portimao tests go?
"The Portimao tests went very well, the track is fantastic. Lots of ups and downs, but it's smooth. It's a track where I think we'll have a lot of fun with MotoGP. Usually when you ride on a new track, everything is new. Sometimes it is difficult to adapt, especially if you are talking about a particular track like Portimao. Doing a few laps, even with a road bike, was very useful because it gives you a sense of what you will experience during a race weekend. It literally shows you what you will see from the bike during the race. Even if the speed is different and maybe the sensations on the bike are different, but riding a road bike like the R1, which is fast enough and beautiful to ride, is a great thing. It allows you to get a precise idea of what you will find. You can watch all the videos you want, the onboards from the other categories, but being physically on the track is something else".
You, Pecco and Valentino were on road bikes. Did you get involved in a race with each other like you do at Misano?
"At Portimao we didn't get involved in a race, because it seemed like a normal MotoGP practice session. There were also the MotoGP bikes on the track, everyone was there. Everyone went out and went on their own way. Maybe when we are on the track relaxing at Misano, we push ourselves harder and try to do something more between us. But at Portimao you couldn't fight too much, there were so many bikes on the track and you had to be careful ".
Aleix Espargarò said that the last corner at Portimao is dangerous for MotoGP. What do you think?
"I didn't do that corner on a MotoGP, but already on an R1 it's pretty tough. There is a big decompression that makes you lose confidence with the front for a moment when you are very leant over. But we have seen that in SBK there are not too many accidents there, it is a corner that seems safe for an SBK bike. For the MotoGP we will have to see. If Aleix Espargarò said so, it is worth considering because he is very experienced. But the track is on the calendar and we will have to race, so there is not much we can do about it".