Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT): a ferocious competitor on track, a cool, calm, collected, and philosophical character off track. It’s why many love the Italian, and it’s why the latest edition of Last On The Brakes is a must-listen for MotoGP™ fans.
The three-time premier class winner and 2017 Moto2™ World Champion sat down with hosts Matt Dunn and Fran Wyld at Le Mans to have an in-depth discussion, with the Italian revealing a little more about how he’s currently feeling in 2021.
As has been touched upon to a great extent this year, Morbidelli is on Yamaha’s 2019-spec YZR-M1. He made it work to great effect in 2020, but with every manufacturer – especially Ducati, Yamaha and Aprilia – making significant strides forward this season, it’s become an uphill struggle for Morbidelli to be as competitive as last year. However, after a period of frustration, Morbidelli is now solely focused on trying to maximise his and the team’s performances on the package they have.
“This year is very easy to have this perspective, because my technical situation gives me a little bit of an excuse on this matter,” says Morbidelli, when asked about feeling ‘okay’ if things don’t quite go as planned during a Grand Prix at the minute. So, does the number 21 now feel less pressure, because of his situation?
“So after an initial period of frustration, I have to say that feeling is gone. A big, big pressure relief has come. Okay, so yes, I do feel that I need to do what I can. And I need to try to improve and I need to try to put the bike on the top. But I also know that putting the bike on the top is a really difficult, difficult task. More difficult than usual. So I don't have too much pressure to put the bike on top.”
But Morbidelli doesn’t like to be an underdog. He thrives on being the favourite. His 2017 Moto2™ title-winning year demonstrated perfectly that Morbidelli is happy to have pressure sitting firmly on his shoulders.
“I'd love to be the favourite. I'd love to be the favourite. That's the best position actually. Being the favourite means that you have everything at your disposal. And you have to perform at the top and you have to win. I've been in that position in Moto2. And I felt great. And I did win!
And I remember if it felt good, I felt that extra spark inside me… It is pressure. It is nerves. But I think that some people can, just by nature can… I wouldn't say handle the pressure, this kind of pressure, but I would say that some people can deal with this pressure. And deal with the feeling.”
Head over to your favoured streaming platform to listen to the latest Last On The Brakes Podcast, and catch up on any you might have missed!