The GP of Argentina at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit finally relaunched Franco Morbidelli to the top of MotoGP. Dormant for too long, the Italian Brazilian had never been able to express his true potential once he switched to the M1 of the official Yamaha team in the second half of 2021. Since then, there has been only so much disappointment and suffering. At least until the Argentine weekend, when he grabbed a couple of fourth places in the Sprint Race and the Sunday race. Morbido’s hope now is that he can start off again from where he left a fortnight ago.
"First of all, we'll try to repeat the top 10 of Friday in Argentina - the 2017 Moto2 world champion began - then do a good qualifying, getting into Q2 if possible. And finally, two good races. If the starting point is solid? In this MotoGP there are few certainties, you can see it with my teammate (Quartararo, ed.). Unless you are part of the Ducati squadron, even though thinking about it, I'm not totally convinced (he jokes, ed.)".
To replicate the recent good performances, it will be more than ever necessary not to make mistakes in the time attack on Friday. Starting from the rear would risk compromising the entire job.
"We'll have to maximize the time available to us in tomorrow's two practice sessions. Time attack is a crucial element in the weekend of each one of us. Then sometimes the unthinkable can happen, like Binder's start in the last Sprint Race. In general, however, being as far up the grid as possible is good."
Morbidelli will have to demonstrate that he has finally acquired a new riding method to take the Yamaha M1 to the limit.
"Analysing my last four races, I noticed that in two of them I was very fast, this means that my confidence with the bike is increasing. In the remaining two, I finished tenth in one, while the other proved to be particularly negative. I've already felt more confident since the end of last year, albeit in a fluctuating way in terms of results so far. That's why I can't wait to get on track."
At the same time, he will have to deal with "bogeyman" Toprak Razgatlioglu, who was involved in a two-day test during the week to discover the secrets of the Iwata manufacturer's prototype.
"Toprak is a rider under contract with Yamaha who has done and is doing excellent things in the Superbike World Championship. All the top five Superbike riders deserve a chance in MotoGP. Yamaha has made a kind and appreciable gesture towards him. As far as I'm concerned, I was aware of the test. The parent company is always very fair towards and with its riders. What kind of Morbidelli will we see on the track? We have to wait for the next few days."
The Turkish tightrope walker doesn't hide behind false moralizing and for Morbidelli the pressure is starting to be felt.
"I know it well and it's not only due to the Toprak affair. I don’t mind anyway...", he concluded.