Today in Aragon Franco Morbidelli finished right behind the official Yamaha duo of the future Vinales-Quartararo, but he is certainly aiming to improve on his place in the world standings this weekend, which he has earned more by bad luck than by demerit. Franco will also have to do without his mentor Valentino Rossi, who has had to stay back in Tavullia after testing positive for Covid-19 and some symptoms even though - as Valentino said ironically after Misano - the two no longer talk about bikes when they are together.
"I want to say to Rossi that this is the best Aragon ever - said Morbidelli jokingly - You know, when one of us is missing from some event we agree to tell each other it was cool. Joking aside, I'm very sorry for Vale, anyone who knows him knows how scrupulous he is in following the anti-Covid rules and the fact that he has caught it means that there can also be a dose of bad luck even if you are careful".
Didn't you have any contact with Valentino after Le Mans? We heard about Arbolino's isolation because he was travelling with a positive case.
“Yes, I returned from Le Mans with Rossi on his private flight but after that trip we were both negative. After that I didn’t see him again and neither did anyone else from the Academy since we don't train together in consecutive races."
Valentino's positivity has certainly shaken up the paddock a bit. What is the atmosphere like at Aragon and what are your feelings about it?
“I honestly am very worried about the Covid situation, right now I feel how I felt in February: lost, dazed and scared. And I believe these feelings are the same for all riders and all those people working in the paddock. We are all afraid of being sick and missing races, the situation lately is becoming heavy and serious, there is a different air inside the paddock than at other weekends, there is more fear"
Let's talk about the track: today a 3rd place that is worth a lot. How was your day?
“I started strong today and this is important. It's cold and you have to wait for the tyres to warm up to the right point to push hard but when it happens they are consistent and this is really good ”.
Do you already have an idea about the tyres to use in the race?
"For the choice of tyre in the race we have to see how the weather evolves, now I have to use the soft on the front while at the rear it will be quite a choice between medium and soft. If the temperatures rise we will try to figure out which tyre to use. It is very risky to run in these temperatures but it is our job to take risks and put 100% into it, this morning for example I crashed”.
Franco, you are just a few thousandths of a second behind two riders who have a factory bike and this year you have often been ahead of them. How much do you think you are missing to deserve the Yamaha M1 Factory Spec?
“Not much, but at the moment it is not a question of results or merit, there are other dynamics at stake. I know what work I have to do and I have to prove my worth to those who have these things under control ”.