Franco Morbidelli chalked up his second consecutive zero (third overall) of his 2021 season at the Mugello circuit. Having ended up within the belly of the group after he took off from number ten on the grid, the home Grand Prix of the Petronas Yamaha SRT rider actually ended in the opening stages, after he went long in the gravel trying to avoid a possible accident with Marc Marquez’s RC213V, which was in full trajectory at the Materassi-Borgo San Lorenzo. But all he could think of was the dramatic death of the very young Jason Dupasquier.
“Those who participate in races are moved by the pure passion that is felt for the world of two wheels. It wasn’t easy to face the race, nor talk about it in this instant,” he stated. “I don’t have much to say about it. Shortly after the start, I got involved in Marc’s fall and, in an attempt to avoid the bike, I ended up on the ride-of area. This prevented me from clinging to the good group, but I think it would be more appropriate to talk about something else.”
The overwhelming majority of his colleagues (including his friend, Pecco Bagnaia) declared that they did not feel like racing that afternoon in Tuscany. Besides a 16th final position on the finish line, the saying “Motorsports are dangerous” applies, and the rider from Rome knows this well.
“I understand their thinking very well. The moment the lights go out, the imponderable can happen,” he continued. “Nothing would have changed remaining in the pit lanes. Maybe we made the fans from home happy on Sunday. I think the positive and negative sides of motorcycling emerged today, at the exact same level.”
In the recent past of the World Championship, we’ve lost riders on the track like Marco Simoncelli, Shoya Tomizawa, and Luis Salom (just to name a few). A bitterness that’s difficult to overcome.
“It’s not the first time that such a fatality has occurred, and it won’t be the last. The races are dangerous, sometimes rough, and ruthless. They have no mercy. But we have to try to move forward anyway.”
The 2017 Moto2 World Champion expressed his personal point of view and defined what happened as an “unforgivable crime”.
“We had so many reasons to race but, at the same time, we had just as many reasons not to. It’s obviously tragic. I feel really sad. Everyone has their own conscience, and you often think that such an event could happen to any one of us. I consider it a 'dark spot', and we all ended up in it today, facing this great fear. This is our sport. When we lower our visors, we’re professionals. I repeat, nothing would have changed if we just sat back. The pain’s there regardless,” he concluded.