It may have taken a little longer than some had predicted but when Franco Morbidelli broke his victory duck in the San Marino MotoGP, he at least did it in style with a formidable lights-to-flag victory on home soil.

The fifth different race winner in only six races, he also becomes the fourth different first-time MotoGP race winner of the 2020 season. Then again, it also means Petronas SRT Yamaha have won three races between Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo.

Indeed, the  Quartararo has been the talisman for the Malaysian-backed outfit since they debuted together in 2019, Morbidelli roundly out-performed by his team-mate last year, not least Misano 2019 when the Frenchman was lauded for coming so close to defeating Marc Marquez.

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A year later and as Quartararo crashed out, Morbidelli was coming of age with a tremendous run to victory kick-started by superb start that gave him the lead before clearing off into the distance to win at a canter.

“The race was fine, I got a good start and in the beginning of the race I felt the pressure from Vale,” he said after the race. “I could see we were pulling away and I was hoping we wouldn’t fight each other, then I saw I was pulling away which was a great surprise. 

“When I saw I was pulling away I said to myself ‘just try to maintain your rhythm’, but what I could see on the dashboard was impressive, then the last 10 laps were unbelievable as I had the chance to think about many things. 

“It was a great feeling, they were the most important 10 laps of my career, I had a lot of fun and I just want to say thanks to my team and everyone that has been working with me.”

In a season that is seeing a changing of the guard out front as new names are etched into trophies, though Morbidelli has more experience than his fellow maiden winners of Quartararo, Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira, it comes in a year he has steadily been notching up the career landmarks.

“I feel winning a MotoGP race makes the difference, just in the way you feel prouder and self-confident and as I said after the race I am full of pride and I feel good. 

“I don’t think too much about what the other riders think about me, I just try to make my job at best and today I did the right thing.”

Morbidelli’s win lifts him to seventh in the overall standings, but remains only 19 points shy of the overall top spot.