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Petronas Yamaha SRT’s Franco Morbidelli – the chilled out, likeable and admirable Italian – is MotoGP™’s newest winner, thanks to a phenomenal performance at the Gran Premio Lenovo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini.
Born in Rome and now living in the motorsport-rich Tavullia, Morbidelli took the Superstock 600 title in 2013 alongside World Championship wildcard outings in Moto2™ at Misano, Motegi and Valencia. He went on to sign with Italtrans Racing Team for a full campaign in 2014 and continued with them in 2015, making his podium debut in Indianapolis.
Unfortunately, a broken leg sustained during a motocross training session saw him miss several races after Brno, with Morbidelli returning to finish the season but far from fully fit. For 2016 he signed with the highly successful EG 0,0 Marc VDS team and took an incredible run of podium finishes, ending the year just outside the top three in the title fight after an impressive campaign.
For 2017, Morbidelli stayed with EG 0,0 Marc VDS and came out swinging to take the first three wins of the year – in the lead in the standings during the entire season and taking the title at the Malaysian GP... from STK600 to World Champion in four years. He moved into the premier class within the same EG 0,0 Marc VDS team in 2018 and took the Rookie of the Year honours, with a best finish of 8th at the Australian GP.
2019 saw Morbidelli join Petronas Yamaha SRT, picking up a solid seven top six finishes. More podium challenges on a factory-spec M1 was Morbidelli’s aim for the 2020 season in the same team – and that’s exactly what’s happened. A dream first MotoGP™ win has now come his way, made even sweeter by doing it in his backyard. Now, Morbidelli can be considered as a real title contender.
“Yeah, as I said before I am full of emotions and we can resume them just with happiness, I’m very happy at the moment and I will be for the next 24/48 hours… I can just say thanks to all the people who made this career so steep, and so good. I wish to continue many more years but so far it has been a really nice journey,” said Morbidelli, speaking to motogp.com after the race.