Morbidelli’s risk-taking pays off in Valencia

PETALING JAYA: Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team rider Franco Morbidelli (pic) admitted he had to take some risks in order to secure his second pole start of the season as he bids to keep alive the fight for the MotoGP championship title at the Valencia GP.

In a thrilling qualifying session, interspersed with showers during the early stages, the Italian rider’s time attack in the closing stages saw him catapult to the top of the time sheets in Valencia with almost half-a-second advantage over second-place man Jack Miller of Australia.

Morbidelli posted 1:30.191 with Miller coming in second with 1:30.287 for Ducati.

Takaaki Nakagami of Japan will have his best chance to land a career-first podium after taking the last front row spot with 1:30.413.

World championship leader Joan Mir of Suzuki Racing Team qualified 12th with 1:30.988.

Morbidelli, who has a slim chance of winning the MotoGP title as he is 45 points behind leader Joan Mir of Spain, said he will keep pushing for the maximum points available.

“Qualifying was a bit strange because the conditions were varied and not easy. You needed to take the right risk to get a good lap time and without making any mistakes, and I managed to do it.

“I felt great with the bike, so I was able to take the necessary risks and I am really happy.

“We have improved the rhythm compared to last weekend’s race, ” said Morbidelli, who has won twice this year.

Teammate Fabio Quartararo, on the other hand, did not enjoy the qualifying session.

The Frenchman only managed to squeeze into the second qualifying session (Q2) and did not manage to improve, ending 11th just ahead of Mir with a best time of 1:30.864.

“Today was difficult with the conditions changing all the time and it has not made it easy to get the best set-up.

“The feeling was not great today, even when we put a new tyre on the bike. We did struggle today but we have some changes planned, ” said Quartararo.

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