UPDATE: The FIM Stewards decision regarding last Sunday's accident involving Franco Morbidelli and Johann Zarco will be published tomorrow (Friday).

Having skipped his usual media duties following Sunday's huge Austrian MotoGP accident with Johann Zarco, Franco Morbidelli sat down with the written press (via zoom) on Thursday evening at the Red Bull Ring.

"I’m fine. I feel good," Morbidelli began. "Monday was the toughest day. I was all swollen, all sore and I struggled to get up from bed. I started immediately to work with our physiotherapists. They were able to 'deflate' me. Here I am on Thursday feeling alright, good and anxious to start the weekend."

The Italian had just finished meeting with the FIM Stewards, who spoke separately to both riders ahead of a judgement on any penalties.

"I went to talk with the stewards. They had different camera angles about the accident. The images talked for themselves. We had a chance to look at the incident from a different angle. I have to tell you that from a different angle it looks even more nasty," Morbidelli said.

"We saw it from a different angle where you can clearly see the exit of T1, the entry of T2 and then what happens throughout T2 and 3. Let’s say a 45 degrees view of the accident. Until now we have just been seeing it either from behind, which is nasty, or from in front, which is nasty.

"But from these other angles it’s even more clear and even more nasty."

Nonetheless, Morbidelli apologised for calling Zarco a 'half-assassin' in an interview with Italian TV on Sunday afternoon.

"Before you ask me, I will tell you that I am sorry about what I called Johann after the race. It was a too strong a statement," Morbidelli said. "It remains the fact that Johann made a mistake. It remains the fact that Johann’s mistake or Johann’s action could have ended way worse than how it ended. It is still a mistake. I don’t know his feelings. I’m not in his head. I can’t judge what’s going through his mind. I can just judge his actions."

Quizzed on the lack of any on-board footage from his bike, Morbidelli replied: "Probably my bike was so smashed... Or maybe the images from my bike are not for underage people!"

Asked to explain in his own words what he thinks Zarco did wrong, Morbidelli replied:

"Clearly Johann took a funny line, a line that nobody has been going – never, not even once in the weekend – a super tight light into [Turn 2] just to cut ground to overtake me. So the aim was to cut ground to overtake and then the braking we think about it later.

"The problem is that when he cut the ground he didn’t overtake me completely and he still went wide after the corner. We couldn’t avoid the collision. I couldn’t avoid because I couldn’t go any further on the right. I couldn’t go anywhere else. I couldn’t go on the inside, because there was no space to go inside and I couldn’t go outside because I would’ve ended up on the grass. So I think the accident is pretty much this."

Zarco's Avintia Ducati team have highlighted that their data shows the Frenchman braked later than ever before, information Morbidelli felt was irrelevant.

"The moment I touched Johann I’ve been braking for 50 metres. The problem is that Johann is changing his line in a super unnatural way, leaving me no space while braking," he said.

"Presenting the fact that he braked two metres later means nothing because the approach to the corner was wrong, the overtaking manoeuvre was wrong and the exiting line was wrong."

The decision of the Stewards is still to be officially announced.

Morbidelli implied that he expects Zarco to receive some sort of sanction, adding that he wasn't concerned that it has taken until today for the Stewards to investigate the incident fully.

"The truth is that finally a decision is going to be taken sooner or later. I don’t care about the time, I just care about the decision being made," he said.

Modifications have also been made to extend the tyre wall on entry to Turn 3, where the bikes of Morbidelli and Zarco came terrifyingly close to taking out Valentino Rossi and/or Maverick Vinales, for this weekend's second Red Bull Ring round.

"I believe it’s a nice track. The layout is cool. Short but engaging still. I like it," Morbidelli said of the picturesque Austrian circuit. "[But] we have to speak about turn 2 and 3 because it’s getting more and more dangerous because of the level MotoGP is reaching right now.

"We will have to discuss it tomorrow in the Safety Commission tomorrow.

"But everywhere else it’s just fine. And I have to say the gravel it is quite fine and smooth because I was rolling in it at 300kph and I’m still walking away. Whereas we have seen at Jerez people rolling around in the gravel and not being as lucky as me. We have to say they are doing a good job and for sure they’ll do a good job improving this matter."

 

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