It was a fairytale weekend for PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team’s Franco Morbidelli, who took his first MotoGP race win in front of his home fans at Misano in the San Marino GP. Unfortunately, team-mate Fabio Quartararo had a race to forget after crashing out.
Home-hero Morbidelli had a great start off the line and immediately moved into the race lead. Despite the early attention of fellow Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi, Morbidelli was soon able to take control. Over the course of the 27-lap race Franco pulled away from the chasing pack, taking his first premier class win in front of his home fans – at the first event of the year that has included a fan presence. He now moves to seventh in the World Championship standings.
Unfortunately it was a day to forget for fellow PETRONAS Yamaha SRT rider Quartararo. After a bad start, a Turn 4 crash on lap eight saw him rejoin the race at the back of the field. After a quick pit stop to check the bike on lap 19, Fabio’s day came to an end with another crash on his out lap. Although he falls to second in the riders’ standings, the gap to the leader is only six points. PETRONAS Yamaha SRT is still leading the teams’ championship.
There will be no rest for the MotoGP pair as they take part in a one-day test on Tuesday, ahead of the seventh round of the season just days later (18-20 September).
"I feel like this has been a magical week for me. Everything had been going well, so going into today I was thinking that maybe something good would be possible. Turns out, it was something great! I have never won a World Championship race at home before, so to do it in MotoGP is the greatest achievement in my life. I’m really proud to be able to say that. I want to say thanks to all the people that work with me, it isn’t just me. This win is a result of teamwork. Right now I’m just so proud of what we have achieved, not just today but in general. Seven years ago I was racing here with a stock 600, now I’m winning a MotoGP race. It’s just amazing, especially as it’s the first race with a crowd this year. It felt great to be able to salute the crowd after the race. We do this for them, so to celebrate with them was such a great feeling."
"First of all I want to congratulate Franco, because he really deserved the win today. It was a really tough race for me but it is what it is, I will learn from it. I made a mistake: I was trying too hard to overtake Maverick [Viñales] and it overheated the tyre. I made the move, and was the correct move to make, but Jack [Miller] was in front and I wanted to catch him as well but too quickly. I braked too late and lost the front end. We are struggling to overtake with our bike, which is something we need to work on. Of course I am disappointed, as we had the speed to fight at the front, but we learn from the experience and I won’t make the same mistake next weekend. We have seen five different winners in six races and it is one of the closest championships we’ve had, so I’m going to continue to give my best and try to make it ours."
"This weekend was the best so far for PETRONAS Sepang Racing Team, as a collective. It was a fantastic win for Franco: very well deserved, especially considering his crash in the first Austrian race. Doing it at his home Grand Prix as well is amazing. It was unfortunate for Fabio; he crashed while trying to catch the front-runners. He is still second in the championship, so it’s not too bad and I’m sure he’ll come back stronger next week."