Bragging rights


Unstoppable: Petronas Yamaha SRT’s Franco Morbidelli (front) in action during the Teruel Grand Prix in Aragon. — Reuters

PETALING JAYA: Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team rider Franco Morbidelli’s bold gamble on tyre choice paid off after a dominating MotoGP win in the Teruel Grand Prix in Aragon.

The Malaysian team have now earned the bragging rights of having the only two riders to have registered more than one win in the premier class this year.

Morbidelli’s breakthrough career victory was in San Marino last month. Sunday’s win at Aragon was his second.

French teammate Fabio Quartararo has won three times this season at Jerez (twice) and Catalunya but struggled with tyre wear and finished eighth on Sunday.

The man of the hour Morbidelli jokingly said after the race that he had “something special for breakfast” but readily admitted that it was a gamble following a last-minute switch to medium tyres that gave him a better chance in the race.

Morbidelli qualified second behind Japanese rider Takaaki Nakagami while Quartararo started the race from sixth.

Morbidelli led for all 23 laps of Sunday’s race to finish by over two seconds ahead of Suzuki rider Alex Rins of Spain to move to within 25 points away from the championship leader with three races to go.

“I had ‘dynamite’ for breakfast I think. I felt great out there and the bike was amazing. I knew we had to go for all or nothing today and my team and my crew did a wonderful job this weekend and they set up the bike in the best way.

“I put 100% trust on the package and I just tried to give everything in every lap and it worked out for me.”

“This victory goes to the team because they worked very hard and very late to sort out which was the best choice and which was the best setting to use. This win goes to them, ” said Morbidelli.

Commenting on his championship chances, Morbidelli said: “We are back in the game, we are 25 points behind.

“I think we should be as aggressive as we were today in Valencia and Portimao next month.

“I’m feeling great and I want to go all out for the next race.”

Morbidelli now sits in fourth in the championship on 112 points, just six behind Spaniard Maverick Vinales.

Spanish rider Joan Mir, who finished third on Sunday, held on to his lead with 137 points with Quartararo second on 123 points.

The championship takes a one-week break before back-to-back races at Valencia early next month.

Portimao is scheduled to stage the final round from Nov 20-22 depending on approval from the Portugal government.

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