New factory Monster Energy Yamaha rider Franco Morbidelli finished less than a second off Maverick Vinales on his MotoGP return.

In what was a mostly dry FP1 session, Morbidelli was able to churn out several decent laps to put himself as high as P12. 

The Italian eventually finished the session in 16th, before claiming 13th in a completely wet FP2. 

Today was the first time on 2021 machinery for last season’s championship runner-up, however, it was too short a time period to understand key differences between that and the 2019 bike, as Morbidelli was instead focused on getting comfortable following his five-race absence.  

"Yeah, I would like to say something about the difference between the two bikes, but the truth is I couldn’t feel anything today," added Morbidelli. 

"Just jumping on the bike after so much time (away) basically feels like a spaceship. 

"So, I cannot give any feedback or anything about the difference between the two bikes because it was so much time between them."

Morbidelli’ return to action was also his first day in Monster Energy colours - ‘a day I will remember forever’. 

Speaking after his first day with the factory team and also the condition of his knee, the Italian added: "Today was a day I will remember forever. It’s pretty nice to have this kind of surrounding and it was really nice to have this FP1 and FP2 in Misano with these colours. 

"I will for sure remember it forever. Moreover, the day went quite okay; the knee I struggled more with this morning than this afternoon. 

"For sure, in wet conditions the sensations are much less and also I was trying to find a way to put the leg on the foot peg quite easily throughout the day. 

"The more laps I was doing, the more solutions I was trying and the more solutions I was finding. 

"I would say that the problem was becoming smaller and smaller during the day. Tomorrow I hope that it’s going to be better from that point of view. 

"It’s definitely a good day for me and I’m going to remember it."