Petronas Yamaha rider Franco Morbidelli will line-up fifth on the grid during today’s MotoGP race at Portimao; says ‘big group of riders’ have identical pace. 

It’s been a much stronger weekend thus far for the 2020 MotoGP championship runner-up following a Qatar double header that yielded only four points for the Italian. 

During practice at the Algarve International Circuit, Morbidelli’s race pace has been extremely quick and similar to pole sitter Fabio Quartararo

Back in November the Italian finished the inaugural MotoGP race here at Portimao in third, and would surely take another result like that. 

Speaking after qualifying, Morbidelli said "I am happy with fifth today. I felt like we were a little bit stronger with the race pace, than over a single lap, but the feeling is so much better than in Qatar. 

"We need to see what will happen tomorrow though. I’m certain there will be a big group of riders all doing a similar pace, so it’s going to be interesting. 

"I feel like I have the pace to fight for a podium here, but if there is that big group then it could be very difficult to get into the top-three. 

"Although P5 tomorrow is good, it’s still not an ideal situation to show our true pace. We will see where we are after the first laps though and what we can do from there."

Morbidelli was one of a few riders to profit from Francesco Bagnaia and Maverick Vinales losing what would have been pole position laps during qualifying - it’s important he did, as if those laps had stood, the 2017 Moto2 world champion would have relegated to the third row. 

Yamaha and Ducati once again look like the favourites for the win and podium places, although Alex Rins for Suzuki will start second and be in the mix too. 

 

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