Dirt track at Rossi ranch helps Morbidelli hit pay dirt

Petronas Yamaha SRT's Italian rider Franco Morbidelli

PETALING JAYA: Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team’s Franco Morbidelli, despite riding on an older bike, attributed his impressive form in the MotoGP last season in part to Valentino Rossi.

The Italian won three races en route to finishing runner-up in the world championship astride a 2019 Yamaha machine.

Morbidelli, in a video released by protective gear maker Dainese, said he usually trains on a dirt track at the Valentino Rossi Ranch in Tavullia, Italy, and benefited from the high level of training.

“The flat track is important because you get used to sliding the rear tyre. Sliding the bike.

“I’ve got used to that feeling and you’ll be less surprised when it happens to you in a real race, on a real racing circuit.

“There is actually no specific moment in the race when you use the skills you acquire here.

“But I believe that throughout the race, throughout the weekend, you will acquire these skills and you can use them whenever you want, ” said the 26-year-old, who will partner Rossi to form an all-Italian line-up for the Malaysian team this year.

Many Italians, including 2020 Moto2 runner-up Luca Marini, also train there in the off-season and Morbidelli added that the intense competition makes him focus better.

“The level there is very high. We are always under pressure and we try to improve, ” he said.

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