Franco Morbidelli matched his best MotoGP result with fifth-place in Sunday's Spanish MotoGP, crossing the line less than one-second from Andrea Dovizioso and a place on the podium.

But in order to try and join race-winning Petronas Yamaha team-mate Fabio Quartararo at the sharp end of the field during this weekend's return visit to Jerez, Morbidelli knows he must improve on tenth place in qualifying.

"It was a really nice race for me. Starting from that far behind I was aiming for top five, but surprisingly I also found myself in the last two laps fighting for the podium," he said.

"I did the wrong move and I wasn't able to catch it, but anyway P5 is good for the team. We were able to get P1 and P5. We will try to improve next week."

The Italian confirmed: "Our main weak point this weekend and what ruined our fight for the podium and maybe the victory was qualifying.

"I was starting too far behind, fighting with many riders and you use the tyre, use your energy. Being in front is always better, especially this weekend with this heat."

The importance of qualifying is also magnified by the fact that Morbidelli, using an A-spec M1, is currently the only Yamaha rider without access to the factory's new holeshot device.

Lining up eighth on the grid due to injuries for Alex Rins and Cal Crutchlow, the Italian was still able to hold his position into turn one, but feels anti-wheelie from the holeshot device is worth two-tenths of a second.

"Well, just the Yamaha people know how much I am pushing for [the holeshot device]," Morbidelli smiled. "I think I already got on their nerves about this matter!

"Sorry about that but for sure it's a key thing. I lose at least two tenths per start and that's a disadvantage and if you want to fight for good results you need to start well.

"So it's another weapon I can have and actually the Yamaha people are being very kind with me, working on it and they will give it to me as soon as possible."

Morbidelli isn't the only rider badgering his engineers for a ride-height lowering holeshot device, with KTM's Pol Espargaro admitting: "I’m still waiting! But they are working hard on it and we will have it a bit later on. They are working really flat out with this system."

The final stages of the race saw Morbidelli and Espargaro battling the Ducatis of Andrea Dovizioso and Jack Miller for the podium.

"It's always nice and engaging to race with Jack because he's a tough rider and I like that!" smiled Morbidelli, who narrowly avoided disaster when he tried to cut under Miller at the Pedrosa hairpin, the resulting wobble so big it set off his airbag:

"It was my mistake, I saw a gap and I went for it but it wasn't a completely open gap.

"I was very lucky because I clearly risked to crash and ruin a wonderful race, but I was fighting for the podium, coming from behind, and I was hungry to get the podium so it's okay to make some mistakes.

"My airbag exploded so I had a few seconds of not understanding well what was going on, then I regrouped and was able to catch back up to the group for the podium and gain one position on Pol."

Overall, the race had been a "great boost" for Morbidelli.

"I was really fast with used tyres, I was feeling great on the bike, I was able to fight my way back towards the top in the race. I've seen that I'm up there, so this is really encouraging. I just can aim for good results," he said.

 

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