Franco Morbidelli is in obvious difficulty on his Yamaha M1, the same bike (but with unofficial specifications) with which he became MotoGP runner-up less than two years ago. The knee operation last summer seems to have interrupted that magical harmony that had been established with the Iwata prototype and on returning to the track began an uphill journey that has not yet reached its peak before the descent.
The crew chief issue
It may be a coincidence, but the (forced) separation from the crew chief Ramon Forcada seems to have broken the balance in his garage. Since 2022 he has been joined by the Australian Patrick Primmer, a figure on whom he never points the index, but who perhaps should be re-evaluated. For Franco Morbidelli the causes of the problems are not of a “human” nature but purely technical. After all, the results of Andrea Dovizioso and Darryn Binder speak for themselves: only Fabio Quartararo with his driving style manages to handle the YZR-M1 like lightning, on every track, also filling that atavistic gap of horsepower vapors that would be so convenient for the four-cylinder in-line engine.
There is too much grip!
Morbidelli’s best result this MotoGP season is seventh place under the Mandalika rain. His best dry finish is 11th place in Losail, seven times he finished out of the points. For comparison, Quartararo in the first ten races always finished in the top eight, with three wins and three podiums. “When there is a lot of grip on the track, the difficulties begin for me“, Explains the Italian rider of the Yamaha factory. “With a more used tire, for example after a few laps of the race, I feel good, but with a new tire I struggle“. This explains his best pace in the second part of the race, when it is too late to recover positions and aspire to at least a top-10.
The future in MotoGP
So far, the solutions tried to solve the problems of overheating and increasing tire pressure have failed. Almost always he finds himself challenging his compatriot and brand-mate Andrea Dovizioso at the limits of the points zone… A season that the two Italian drivers will hardly forget! Franco Morbidelli is linked to the Iwata manufacturer until the end of 2023, but at this rate he will have to look for other solutions for the near future. The alternative is to solve the problems with the M1 by the end of this championship, because the market events are almost always based on the results of the previous year. For ‘Dovi’ the future is marked, for Franky it will be time to evaluate each proposal. “We have to work hard to improve in qualifying with fresh tires – clarified the VR46 Academy pilot -. You have to find a way to get there“.