Morbidelli endured his worst season in MotoGP last year which inevitably brought about rumours of 2021 WorldSBK champion Razgatlioglu possibly replacing him.

But even though Lin Jarvis, Team Principal of the Monster Energy Yamaha Team, admitted they should have offered Morbidelli’s seat to Razgatlioglu in 2021, the Italian has remained put alongside Fabio Quartararo for what will be their second season together at the factory team, fourth in total after spending two years as teammates at Petronas Yamaha - which is now RNF Aprilia. 

Morbidelli is unlikely to get away with a similar season in terms of results if he wants to remain with Yamaha, however, the former runner-up to Joan Mir has stated that rumours of Razgatlioglu replacing him were never of ‘any real danger’. 

Speaking to Motosprint, Morbidelli said: "I've read a few comments on the internet and on social media, I happen to do it every now and then. But I don't think there was ever any real danger that Toprak would come in my place. 

"It has never been mentioned to me by anyone. It was certainly the comment and desire of some Yamaha fans, because they didn't see any performance from me and at the same time they saw it from him in Superbike. It's an understandable feeling."

While the level of performance between Morbidelli and team-mate Quartararo could not have been any larger last season, the 2017 Moto2 champion has remained highly motivated based on the results the French rider was achieving.

"Many things have helped me to remain highly motivated: first of all my teammate, Quartararo, who has always managed to get the best out of the bike by offering truly extraordinary performances," added Morbidelli. 

"And then the same awareness of what I can give and what I still can't do with this Yamaha. 

"What I couldn't give was even clearer to me when I was even more struggling. The rest is taken care of by my friends, the people I have by my side, they are all of great help."

Although Morbidelli’s results remained lacklustre towards the end of 2022, there were clear signs that he was unlocking more and more potential from his M1.

Something that could play against Yamaha though, is the fact they will only run two bikes on the grid after RNF switched to Aprilia.

Less data between riders could put them on the backfoot compared to Ducati, Aprilia and others, although Morbidelli is not worried about the Japanese brand’s decision to go forward with two bikes. 

Asked if he’s worried, Morbidelli added: "No, I'm less worried than I was in mid-2022. I feel I've found a good connection with this M1, I feel I can have my say a little more. Before, perhaps, even this fact could have worried me."