Franco Morbidelli a spectator in Qatar, “the new Ducati works well”

Franco Morbidelli attends the Qatar MotoGP test as a spectator: “Doctors said it'd be pretty dangerous to hit the head again right now, so we need to wait"

Franco Morbidelli at the Qatar test (pic: Pramac)
Franco Morbidelli at the Qatar test (pic: Pramac)

Franco Morbidelli will start the 2024 MotoGP World Championship having missed all five days of official pre-season testing.

The new Pramac Ducati rider has been sidelined as a precautionary measure since being knocked unconscious during a superbike training accident at Portimao last month.

However, the Italian has at least travelled to Qatar, scene of this week’s final pre-season test, to try and learn what he can ahead of the March 8-10 opening event at the Lusail Circuit.

The accident was pretty particular. It was an out-lap. I don’t remember a lot but for sure two of the main guys I need to thank to be here are Marc and Alex [Marquez],” Morbidelli told

“They intervened and did the right things while I was down on track, unconscious. I need to thank them.

“The doctors said that it'd be pretty dangerous to hit the head again, right now. So we need to wait some more time.

“I'm going to miss the five days of tests which are very important to build up with the new crew, with new bike for sure. Especially when everything is new.

“But anyway, I have the chance to be here [in Qatar]. I have the chance to work anyway with the team. Stay in the pit box. Talk with my crew.”

Pramac team manager Gino Borsoi added: “Let's see where he can be at the first race, but for sure it's a really tough and hard start of the season. We know it will be difficult, but anyway, we are here to help him.”

The only good news for Morbidelli is the impressive form shown by the Ducati GP24.

“Sincerely looking at Sepang test. The new Ducati and the Ducati in general worked very well, so I'm very pleased to see that and I'm very looking forward to jumping on it as soon as possible,” he said.

Former factory Yamaha rider Morbidelli was 16th (+0.953s) on his Pramac debut at last November’s Valencia test.

New team-mate and reigning title runner-up Jorge Martin was second quickest to Francesco Bagnaia at the Sepang test and again on day one in Qatar.

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