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Qatar MotoGP test: Morbidelli ‘faster on the straight’ than 2020

Having finished Saturday as he had the 2020 championship, as the fastest Yamaha, Franky Morbidelli looked on form to continue the run into Sunday’s second MotoGP test session in Qatar, that was until factory newbie Fabio Quartararo spoilt the party in the closing minutes.

Spending time at the top of the timesheets despite recording the slowest speed of the, already down on power, Yamaha quartet, the Petronas rider concluded the day in a comfortable fourth, just two-tenths shy of the Frenchman, with a time of 1’54.153.

Working through a programme that evaluated electronic upgrades, rear-end settings in the hunt for better stability, alongside a modified holeshot device for his M1, the Italian completed 63 laps of the Losail International Circuit to conclude the first of two test sessions ‘happy’ with his progress.


“I am happy with the job we’ve done today. Straight-away we had some good improvements compared to yesterday and then we just got better and better as the day went on,” said Morbidelli, speaking at the track.

“We went through some new elements that we needed to try, some of them I liked, some of them I didn’t but it’s good to be able to go through them and have the chance to try them on my bike.

“[On Saturday] I felt good, especially late in the night when I really started to feel like myself back on the bike, I had again the feelings that I know from this bike and I think we are already on a good level.

“Of course there are things to improve, but we are not too far from the top guys so I’m happy with that. I’m also happy that this bike is the same but different, it feels the same as last year but we are faster on the straight.”

After a stellar but somewhat surprising 2020 championship performance, Morbidelli has spent the winter preparing strongly for the coming season, arriving at Qatar raring to get down to work and assured of the task at hand.

“I feel a little bit more confident about myself, more trust in the bike, I feel well prepared. I knew last year I had a big change in the fitness side and in the winter training, and this year I knew more what to expect and what I would have gone through so I was a little bit more ready.

“I tried to trim here and there so, at least at the gym, and at training in the winter, I tried to be better, let’s see if this is going to pay off also on the track. It’s important to get the rhythm back, it’s going to be crucial to understand well how the tyres are going to work out here.

“Looking towards the final three days of testing, we will be looking to continue improving the overall package and then focusing on race pace, to understand some things ahead of the first two GPs here.”

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