Still running on the adrenaline of 2020’s impressive form, MotoGP silver medalist, Franky Morbidelli, remained his characteristically cool, calm and composed self as he presented his 2021 M1 challenger as part of Monday’s Petronas SRT launch.
Reflecting on the positives of last-year’s stellar season, the 26-year-old seemed as determined as ever to improve on his position as Top Independent Rider and Vice-Champion as he enters his fourth season in the GP class.
“My personal target for 2021 is to get better; improve myself as a person, rider and athlete. I know it’s hard and difficult because last year we were quite fast and we made great races and achieved great results. Nevertheless, we will have to try to improve compared with 2020, so that’s my aim.
“This will be my third year with the team and there are many things I like about Petronas Yamaha SRT. The main thing is the people. It’s great to work for a long period with the same group, so you get to know the people working inside. Of course also the professionality and the high level we are able to maintain is incredible.
“I think the 2021 livery is very nice. It’s similar to the last two years but still something has changed. It’s the same but different, so I like it.”
The biggest change for the Malaysian squad this year is the inclusion of Valentino Rossi, so how does Morbidelli feel about joining forces with his VR46 mentor?
“This year I will share the garage with Vale and I expect and hope it will be a great season for both of us. We have had a strong relationship for many years and we will learn a lot from each other.
During my training this winter I just tried to improve more aspects about my fitness, myself and riding style. I’ve been trying to think about elements to improve on track and in conclusion, try to be better year after year.
“I’m excited to jump on my YZR-M1 again. Many things seem to be uncertain for this 2021 season too, but I know that one thing is certain is that soon or later I’m going to ride my bike again.”
Confirming the confidence held in his rider, Team Director, Johan Stigefelt commented: “Franco comes from his best season-ever, and his strength on track at the end of last season will bolster his confidence looking to the start of the year ahead. [He] developed and delivered in supreme fashion last year so he is perfectly placed to continue to deliver at the highest standard in 2021.”
Backing up the belief in the Italian, SRT Team Principal, Razlan Razali, explained:
“The need for consistency is what we’re looking for in 2021. We want to have consistent performance at the top level from our riders and team this year as this is what is required to mount a championship campaign. We saw the strength of Franky’s campaign last year to finish second in the riders’ championship and this was vital for us finishing second in the teams’ standings. We hope that both riders are able to be at the front consistently over the course of the season ahead and this will allow us to mount a strong challenge for the championship.”
While Team Manager, Wilco Zeelenberg, concluded: “We will face the third season together with Franco, so we know each other quite well. Franco won three GPs last year and finished second in the championship, so his confidence and experience has grown a lot, meaning his target is different from last year. His bike will be the same, so the expectations are high.
“We want to be on the podium on a regular basis with both riders! We showed in our first two years that we can be fighting regularly in the top places against factory teams and we want to keep this exceptional situation.
“With another Corona season coming ahead it will already be a success if we all stay negative and safe, enjoying our lovely sport and giving happiness to our fans around the world! On track, our season’s aim is always to have better results from our riders than the year before.”