Morbidelli: "Impossible to separate rivalry and friendship with Rossi"

The runner-up: "There is no number 1 and 2 at Petronas. I did better than Vale last year, but he has done much better his entire career."


Franco Morbidelli, current MotoGP world runner-up, receives Valentino Rossi in the Petronas SRT box this season. He does it with open arms, like a good friend of his that he is, but with the firm intention of beating him and with the hope that their friendship can last in time despite the logical rivalry of every box. The Italian-Brazilian has spread without haste with the Press and also watch out for his very interesting reflection on Marc Márquez.

-When you get to the Petronas box and see Rossi there, you will see your great friend Valentino or the first rival to beat.

-It is impossible to separate rivalry from friendship.

-This will be the first year in which he will not be considered an 'outsider'. How are you living it? Do you feel like a favorite for the World Cup? He is runner-up in the world… 444 444

-More than feeling like a favorite for the World Cup, I have to be. You cannot hide behind imposed answers. I will try to do my job, I know what I did last year, I am still me and I will try to replicate it and improve myself, and that's it.

-Those responsible for your team have commented that Yamaha has understood its value, and that they may regret not giving it an official motorcycle. And speaking with the other drivers, when they answer the question of who is the favorite, they obviously talk about Mir but add that he is not so much and many say his name. Feeling that for your rivals you can be the man to beat, what feeling does it provoke?

-It is nice that your colleagues recognize your value, it is something that makes me proud, it makes me proud, it is the first feeling that it provokes in me. And at the same time, a responsibility derives from this pride.

-And about Yamaha, have they told you something, have you seen if their approach towards you has changed?

-Yamaha's approach towards me has always been very good, I have always felt good with all the people within Yamaha, especially or mainly with Maio (Meregalli) and with Lin (Jarvis). I have known Lin since he was a brat and I have always had a very good relationship with him, he is a person whom I esteem and appreciate very much. I have understood your decision. If I could regret one thing, it would be how the contractual issues work in today's MotoGP, there is a lot of anticipation in the contractual decisions, it is how the train is going now, the current fashion, and I can understand this kind of thing that a rider of the That you thought for the previous year that I was not up to the task of doing what I have done today and that suddenly I would become the favorite for the World Cup the following year. There are contractual strings to respect and no one person or decision can be blamed but rather the general fashion.

-You and Valentino are very good friends and also know each other very well as pilots. Is there something for which you can make a common front based on your running, also based on your character? Can they join forces in any way to lend a hand to the factory in a purely competitive aspect?

-In my opinion, what will help Vale and me the most will be the exchange not of technical information but of personal information, personal feedback, about the races, about the bike, in general. This can be an advantage, running so much together, exchanging opinions together, this can surely be an advantage.

-They have explained that their contract is with the Petronas team and not with Yamaha. I wanted to know how you see the situation, if you are concerned that the Petronas team does not have an agreement with Yamaha yet, and if it can influence the eventual choice of the bike.

-This is one thing I try not to think about, honestly, because I think it doesn't help me do my job better. I know that my team is in contact with Yamaha and I know that the contract will end at the end of this season. I try not to think about things that I cannot control, and these are things that I will have to control and that I know our boss, Razla Razali will control very well, that I know he will do a good job and that he will choose the best option for the team. And the best choice for the team will therefore be the best choice for me.

-Doing two tests in Qatar and then two races, could you alter the values a bit?

-Surely yes, surely it will bring all the spinning all together both on the same track, doing two tests and two races. It will be very interesting to see in which mode the ranking will be modified or in which mode it will move. And for sure they will be two very interesting races, as always in MotoGP, but in my opinion they will be two even more particular races because they will come after two tests and it will be very difficult to make a difference, it will depend on many things and it will be very, very important to do well. The working margin will be very, very small.

-Can it be said that Jerez will be the true first race of the year even if it is the fourth?

-No, I do not feel that this can be said, I feel that I have to say that Qatar 1 and Qatar 2 are two very, very particular races, I can say this.

-The team has said that the expectations are very high with you, also with Valentino. But it's almost like saying he's number 1 on the team. How do you feel about this, especially having an older bike, which is strange?

-I am 100% sure that in our team there is no hierarchy, there is no number 1 driver and number 2 driver, the two drivers are treated in the same way, in the same way, and very well. It is true that I did better than Vale last year, but it is also true that he has done much better than me in his entire career. So what is better and what is better? Who knows ... Our team will be very good, as it happened with Fabio and me, when it comes to managing me and Vale to treat us the same way.

-He has talked a lot about the importance of training with the rest of the Academy pilots, the Battles of the Ranch. But how is it possible that he is not seen lately in the photos of the Ranch in these races that they do?

-Lately I have not done the final races that are done at the Ranch because I fell training two weeks ago, in one of these American, and I did a little damage to my ankle and in the last two races of the Ranch I have skipped the final Americana, just to avoid having another fall and doing more damage to my ankle.

-Yesterday he was defined as an artist and the team has expressed their intention to make Valentino happy. How do you imagine this year inside the box and do you think that Valentino will also be happy?

-I hope so, I hope the one written throughout the year is a beautiful song. Surely we must each do their own work in a professional, serious way, and we must try to write the best story, the best song for each one of us, each one for his team and in the end both for the team in general.

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