Monster Energy Yamaha’s Franky Morbidelli got his first taste of 2022 at Jerez Circuit on Thursday and was already ‘happy’.
Despite continuing to suffer with the strength of his leg, after summer knee surgery, and a turn 13 crash mid-way through the opening day, the Italian was pleased with the progress made so far.
An important day for Morbidelli, which found him working directly with his new Crew Chief Patrick Primmer for the first time, he ran his first kilometres with the 2022 prototype YZR-M1 at half 11, having waited for the temperatures to rise from the cool November morning.
A successful 56 laps later, the Yamaha-man’s best time, a 1‘37.884, sat him seventh in the standings, half a second off the fastest effort.
“I like the 2022 spec,” Morbidelli said from Jerez. “I don‘t have a lot of experience on the 2021 bike, but when I jumped on the 2022 bike, I felt the improvements. I had a good feeling on it, and I kept working on it for some time. There were some good improvements, so I‘m happy.
“I had a small crash in turn 13. On the left-handers I still struggle to get into the right position early enough. Luckily the leg and everything else is okay. It was just a small crash.
“I‘m having a bit of trouble with the leg here and also in Valencia. With two races and a test in a row, I don‘t have enough time to recover. Right now, we need to see this not as a handicap but as a boost to set up the bike really well to allow me to ride it almost effortlessly so I have the chance to be faster even in the condition I‘m in now.
“I think we made the right steps in Valencia and here, so I‘m pretty happy with the job we‘ve done. I‘m not happy with my physical condition with the leg, but I need to take it as an opportunity to improve.”