Morbidelli delighted with first podium of season

Joy: Petronas Yamaha SRT’s Franco Morbidelli celebrates on the podium after finishing third in the Spanish Grand Prix at the Jerez Circuit on Sunday. — AFP

PETALING JAYA: Petronas Yamaha SRT’s Franco Morbidelli put up a strong ride to claim his first podium of the 2021 season by coming in third at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Teammate and fellow Italian Valentino Rossi battled back from a poor start to cross the line in 17th.

Morbidelli proved to be strong from the moment the lights went out until the chequered flag.

The Italian held on to his second place off the line but dropped back to third on the fourth lap. Although Morbidelli drifted back from the front-runners in the middle of the race, falling back to fourth momentarily, he pushed hard and started to close the gap in the final few laps.

Morbidelli began to home in on those ahead but ultimately could not catch them and crossed the line third and moved to eighth in the world championship with 33 points.

“It was an incredible race and I was able to push hard. The whole team have done a wonderful job this weekend and it meant that I was able to ride really strong and aggressively, ” said Morbidelli.

“I’m really pleased with this result and that I could reward the team with this podium.

“It feels wonderful to be back up there, especially as the championship is a lot tougher this year... it is very competitive.

“I am enjoying this moment a lot and I hope it continues in the next races, ” he said.

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