That’s the view of Yamaha test rider Cal Crutchlow, who took part in six end-of-season races for the satellite RNF squad alongside development duties with next year’s machine.

2020 title runner-up Morbidelli has only taken one podium in the last two years, suffering a step down in results since returning from knee surgery to take over from Maverick Vinales at the factory team in late 2021.

Morbidelli’s smooth style on an A-spec bike had enabled him to outscore Fabio Quartararo as Petronas team-mates in 2020 - a season that saw all four Yamaha riders on the podium and three of them win races – but by 2022 only Quartararo could unlock the M1’s shrinking performance (grip) window.

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Realising his naturally smooth approach wasn’t working, Morbidelli tried to morph into a Quartararo-type attacking style during this season. Some progress was made, but there was little reward.

While Quartararo battled to defend his world title, ultimately losing out to Ducati's Francesco Bagnaia at the final round, Morbidelli was the next best Yamaha rider in just 19th. Quartararo took three wins and eight podiums, with Morbidelli a best of seventh in the Mandalika rain and tenth in the dry, at the Valencia finale.

The good news for Morbidelli is that, alongside the top speed increase Quartararo craves, Crutchlow is pushing for Yamaha to rediscover its smooth philosophy for 2023.

“Honestly speaking, I think Yamaha needs to go back to make it so that you don't have to be an aggressive rider. That's the reality,” Crutchlow said.

“The problem is – and why Frankie’s had to turn into an aggressive rider - is because the bike’s [become] like that. And that's not Yamaha's philosophy.

“We need to make the bike smoother and calmer. We need to work on that for next year and it'll make the bike better overall.

Crutchlow: I fully expect Frankie to be good next year

“The Yamaha was always the slowest bike [in a straight line], but still the fastest around the track most of the time. Now it's trying to be faster and faster [on the straight] and it's more difficult [to ride]," Crutchlow added.

“So the philosophy has to go back, I think, in one way.

“And Frankie is a smooth rider at heart. So this is why I fully expect Frankie to be good next year. He’s had a difficult year, but it doesn't mean that he won't come back."

Although Crutchlow didn’t ride at the official Valencia test, where Yamaha were left baffled by a lack of performance from the previously promising 2023 engine, he had tried the same updates a week earlier in a private outing at Jerez.

“The new bike is very good [for] top speed," Crutchlow had said. "But we need to work on the rest of the stuff for next year, then come back for Sepang [February] in a better way and I'm looking forward to that."

2023 is the last year of Morbidelli’s current Yamaha contract.