Seventh in qualifying. The best performance this year for Franco Morbidelli who, unfortunately, will have to face a penalizing Double Long Lap penalty, due to a distraction that ruined his friend Pecco Bagnaia’s good lap. Franco apologized with a message.
“Yes, I wrote to him and, yes, he answered. I’m sorry I ruined his lap. I’m sorry. It’s always bad when these things happen,” the rider from Tavullia said calmly. But how do you explain that distraction?
“I had just left the pit lane and, since one corner on this track can be completely dry and the next wet, I looked at the flags and ... the sky, and I didn’t pay attention to what was happening. Pecco came up really fast behind me, and I slowed him down. The penalty is fine, also because it had happened to me on two other occasions in Assen. Those are the rules. Of course, it would be nice if the flag system worked better ... .”
Despite this, Morbidelli doesn’t seem at all disheartened.
“I’m really happy. It’s a great boost of confidence for next year. We worked well and progressed well and managed to maintain our speed even in the time attack. Small changes that give you that confidence and that makes you do different things when you ride. What kind of changes? Lots of small changes to the set-up and electronics, of course. We work on everything without exaggerating,” Franco said, and then added: “One of the problems I’ve had so far has been maintaining speed, even with new tires. With worn tires, the speed has actually always been pretty good. We progressed this weekend with the pace, but especially with the new tires. The two long lap penalties will definitely affect my result in the race, but there are many positive things this weekend that make me happy and also make the team happy.”
This preoccupation will vanish, quoting Blade Runner, like tears in the rain … if it rains.
“We’ll have to see the weather. I was going really fast with the rain. If it happens, we can be confident even with the double long lap. In the FP4, I had a good pace ... I was ahead, I was going fast ... not very fast, because the Ducatis are scary.”
Morbido will start a row ahead of his teammate, Quartararo. How will he behave? The answer is clear, though not obvious.
“I’m not gabling on anything in the championship. If I have to look at something, I have to look at my next season. Fabio? I’m going to do my race and not get involved in fights that have nothing to do with me. I’ll have to do the best race I can.”