Franco Morbidelli feels he lost a great opportunity at Le Mans, and he doesn’t hide it at all in the meeting with journalists at the end of the race. The qualifying rounds were certainly not exciting for the Team Petronas rider, but Morbidelli was really impressive during warm up and also had a really impressive pace.
Starting in an 11th position didn’t allow him to dream, but at least he was able to try and set up a solid comeback and maybe aim for the podium to be able to keep up with the “good” group in the World Championship rankings. But things started to take a turn for the worse, first with the rain, a situation that was not very welcome for the M1 today at Le Mans, and then with an accident at the start that involved him and also Rossi and Vinales.
“It was really a pity,” Morbidelli explained. “We didn’t get what we deserved this weekend. We’ve always been fast, really fast at Le Mans, especially yesterday. I was really consistent even in the warm up this morning. I felt good on the bike, as I had probably never felt this season. I was able to keep a great pace on used tires, and I thought I could aim for a victory. Then, in my second qualifying round, something strange happened, so I was forced to start 11th. From then on, it got worse and worse and, despite starting out well in the race, I was involved in the accident with Valentino.”
There have been lots of races ruined by others this year.
“It seems that I’ve been involved in every single accident or mess that’s happened this year. From then on, I found myself doing another type of race, fighting with the KTM and with other riders who were up front. In the end, I had a good pace, and I was behind Maverick. I felt good, and when I decided to move forward in terms of pace, I made a mistake. A small mistake, because I leaned into the corner just a degree more, and that was enough for me to fall without warning. I should have adapted better. I could have scored points. I was catching up with Fabio and the others in front, but I didn’t even score a point. I would love to be in Aragon right now, because I can’t wait to get on track again and put everything I have on the line again, and I think Aragon is a good track for me and Yamaha. There, I don’t think we’ll have the tire grip problems we’ve had here. I have a lot of energy that I’ve been carrying around since this weekend, and I’ll take it with me to Aragon.”
Qualifying well is increasingly important in this MotoGP.
“Yes, I’m always in the wrong place at the wrong time.When you start so far back, you always risk a lot because you’re in the center of the group. Anything can happen, and it seems like, if I start behind this season, something happens, and I’m always in the middle of it. I lost many positions to avoid Vale’s accident."
Yet, the other Yamaha riders were not protagonists either.
Morbidelli: “If you start behind with the Yamaha, you experience another type of race, you have difficulty overtaking.”
“We didn’t lack in speed here. It was something else. In qualifying, the second round didn’t go well, but I still don’t understand what it was. We only changed the tires, we didn’t understand, but I’m sure this is the cause that led us to this race. Then if you start behind with the Yamaha, you experience another type of race, you have difficulty overtaking. I lose 15 to 20 km/h on every single straight of every track. In Aragon, the straights are also long, and I could lose even more. But I prefer not to focus on this. I prefer to concentrate on the corners and do what I can do well, which is to tackle them well and prepare the best possible set-up on the bike.”
The math still keeps you in the game, but it gets harder and harder for the world championship, or at least for a place in the top three.
“Yes, but the world championship is open to me because the math still hasn’t said “no”. I think it’s a world championship of the highest level, where many riders are strong, many manufacturers are strong. There are so many points shared between so many riders, because there are so many strong riders who ride excellent bikes. The reason is that, in my opinion, the level is very high, the level of the riders is very high, and it’s easy to lose not one or two positions, but six or seven even in a second. That’s why this world championship is so close. Not because no one doesn’t want it, but because everyone wants it and everyone is able to take it.”
Today, Alex Marquez got his first podium. You know him well, you raced against him in the Moto2.
“Firstly, I have to say, ‘Great, Alex.’ I congratulate him. He’s a really fast rider when it rains. We’ve seen in the last few races that he’s grown a lot, taking one step at a time, never taking the longest step. I congratulate him on this podium.”