Morbidelli eyes elusive podium in ‘abnormal’ home race


PETALING JAYA: Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team rider Franco Morbidelli (pic) is praying for better luck at his home race this weekend.

Morbidelli failed to finish at the Italian MotoGP Grand Prix the last time Mugello hosted it in 2019.

The event was dropped from the calendar last season because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Although he has yet to step on the Italian GP podium, he narrowly missed out when competing in Moto2 four years ago.

Despite the absence of fans in the grandstands, Morbidelli will still be aiming to put on a good show.

“I’m hoping to arrive at Mugello this weekend in the best shape possible after receiving some treatment for my knee.

“I love Mugello, it is a great track, full of history and I have some great memories there.

“The feeling I have when riding there is a little different compared to other tracks.

“It’s wonderful to be going back racing at Mugello after no round last year but it won’t be a normal one as we won’t have fans cheering us on.

“I don’t know what to expect but I’m looking forward to going back and I hope that our bike continues to do well there and we will see what happens, ” said Morbidelli, who is eighth in the championship standings with 33 points.

Morbidelli’s best finish there is fourth during his title-winning 2017 Moto2 campaign.

Meanwhile, his illustrious teammate Valentino Rossi has a history of good results at the circuit, including seven consecutive wins (2002-2008) and 11 podiums in the MotoGP class.

Rossi will also be aiming for a good haul of points to move him higher than his current 19th place (nine points).

“It is a fantastic track and fortunately, I have many good memories there. It is always special so I’m really looking forward to being there next.

“It’s a shame that there will be no fans because they are always great and give us a lot of support, ” said “The Doctor”.

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