MotoGP

Morbidelli: Riding 2019 Yamaha MotoGP bike will boost Rossi and me

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Franco Morbidelli believes riding a similar specification of Yamaha in the 2019 MotoGP season as his mentor Valentino Rossi will be beneficial for both riders.

Morbidelli, the 2017 Moto2 champion and last year’s top MotoGP rookie with the Marc VDS team, has joined the newly-formed Petronas SRT team for this season.

He will ride the same 2019 Yamaha bike as factory riders Rossi and Maverick Vinales in a change of strategy compared to its former satellite team Tech3, which ran older machinery.

Morbidelli believes the information exchange between the riders will also give him extra motivation.

Speaking at the Petronas SRT season launch, Morbidelli said: “It [riding a 2019 bike] helps us both.

“It is much more help for me than him [Rossi], but we can share information, we can share impressions, and it is useful for me and for him.

“Of course it is a motivation as well to ride the same bike and to try to make a perfect job, try to beat him and everyone else on track.

“It is our aim and it is what we are trying to do.”

Morbidelli impressed during his first outings with the Yamaha bike in winter testing, taking sixth at both the Valencia and Jerez post-season tests.

The 27-year-old praised the M1 for being user-friendly.

“With the Yamaha you always have the feeling of having a margin,” said Morbidelli.

“Even when you put on a new tyre you think you could have squeezed a little more [from the bike].

“The point I want to get to is to put on the new tyre and know that I’ve given everything.

“It’s a very sweet bike, and when you put on new rubber and you feel the grip, it’s incredible how good it feels.”

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