Franco Morbidelli: “Nothing negative” about return to scene of scary crash

Franco Morbidelli explains his feeling about returning to Portimao after his recent accident

Franco Morbidelli, Qatar MotoGP, 10 March
Franco Morbidelli, Qatar MotoGP, 10 March

Franco Morbidelli returns to Portimao this weekend, the scene of his concerning crash during preseason.

Morbidelli lost control of a Panigale V4S in January at the track in Portugal, and was hospitalised after being knocked unconscious.

As a result, he missed the entirety of MotoGP preseason testing and was forced to use the season-opening round in Qatar as practice on his Ducati.

This weekend’s Portuguese MotoGP, the second round of the 2024 season, offers Morbidelli his next chance to adjust to his new Pramac Ducati team.

“There is nothing negative about approaching this track,” Morbidelli said when remembering his recent crash.

“The first reason is because this track is beautiful.

“I had an accident, yes. A serious accident. But such a strange accident.

“An unreplicable accident. Technically, it cannot affect my thinking.

“It was something difficult to happen again.

“Also, because I am doing what I love to do.

“There is nothing to slow my progress down at this track.”

Morbidelli’s physical recovery from his crash in January has largely concluded meaning he can ramp up his progress on the GP24, albeit later than any of his MotoGP rivals.

He said about Portimao this weekend: “We will keep going for our acclimatisation to the new bike, but with much more confidence than in Qatar.

“I had a normal couple of weeks at home, and I had the chance to ride bikes. The confidence is much more.

“We approach this weekend knowing that we have ground to recover.

“The confidence is the fact that I did two normal weeks, when I was home, instead of the recovery weeks that I did between the accident and the first race.

“I had zero tests. Everything I went through, generally, in that period…”

He added about the past fortnight since Qatar: “I was willing to start normal training as soon as possible. I felt good.

“My body reacted very well. I am really pleased by that.”

Morbidelli was asked about his earliest indications about the GP24, which Pecco Bagnaia won the Qatar MotoGP with, and which his teammate Jorge Martin rode to victory in the sprint.

He replied: “It needs to be ridden fast!

“Pecco and Jorge ride in faster than every other Ducati. It needs to be ridden in that way.”

Morbidelli also enters the Portuguese MotoGP after news that Ducati have signed up Fermin Aldeguer for 2025.

It is expected, but unconfirmed, that Aldeguer will be placed in the Pramac team.

Martin’s future is expected to be elsewhere, either at the factory Ducati team or a rival manufacturer.

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