Morbidelli’s seat in the 2024 MotoGP rider line-up is one of the most at-risk, with his contract expiring and Yamaha openly considering alternatives.

With this weekend’s Italian MotoGP beginning a run of three races consecutively, it is a period which could make or break Morbidelli’s hopes.

New Tracks for 2024? Your Questions Answered | Crash MotoGP Podcast Episode 91

Asked about his future, he said: “I don’t know.

“Every race is important. I don’t race according to keeping my job.

“I race according to my passion, my drive. According to what I’ve done all my life.

“This is what I know how to do, what I do best in life.

“I don’t want to get polluted by external stuff.

“Okay, this is also the job. We all want to keep our jobs. So I would love to keep my job, to keep doing it for years.

“I will keep doing my thing.

“Last year, the difference between me and Fabio was a lot. That doesn’t put you in a good position if you’re the one getting his butt kicked!

“This year, it’s a whole different story!

“We can say this after five races. Numbers talk. 

“These three races are important because it’s a triple-header, but they are as important as the other ones.”

Morbidelli make a convincing plea that he is performing almost as well as teammate Fabio Quartararo, the 2021 MotoGP champion.

“I think I am. After five races I am nine points away from him,” he said.

“I out-qualified him on a couple of occasions, once at Jerez which is his track.

“So I’m getting close to him, also beating him.

“In races, I’m still not that far. I see him all race long.

“My voice means something more now, for sure. I have more credibility. I’m happy about this.

“But I’m not happy yet - I want to keep going, to improve, to make these performances better. We know everything is possible.

“I’m planning on stepping it up.”

But even Quartararo has cut a miserable figure this season, with Yamaha unable to deliver him a bike capable of competing with the Ducatis.

It leaves Morbidelli with the thankless task of scrapping for a new contract on a below-par machine.

“We know that we are struggling,” he said. “We all know. Come on! There is work to do.

“Everybody knows it. But it’s the right attitude to face the weekend where the work to be done is still in progress.

“When you don’t have any additional weapons at your disposal, positivity can be a weapon.

“Cal Crutchlow has been testing some stuff. He is trying, pushing, to improve the package.

“We are making modifications but nothing that we can bring on the bike yet.”