PETALING JAYA: Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team’s Franco Morbidelli said winning his first MotoGP race was simply magical.
And he did it on home soil at the San Marino Grand Prix.
The Italian clocked 42:02.272 as he shrugged off an early attack from his mentor Valentino Rossi in the race that for the first time included a limited local crowd due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 25-year-old said everything fell into place at the new asphalt surface in San Marino.
“I feel like this has been a magical week for me. Everything went well, I was thinking that maybe something good would be possible. It turns out to be something great!
“I have never won a world championship race before at home, so to do it in MotoGP is the greatest achievement in my life, ” said Morbidelli.
“I’m really proud to be able to say that. I want to say thanks to all the people that work with me, it isn’t just me.
“This win is a result of teamwork. Right now I’m just so proud of what we have achieved, not just today but in general.
“Seven years ago I was racing here with a stock 600, now I’m winning a MotoGP race. It’s just amazing, especially as it’s the first race with a crowd this year.
“It felt great to be able to salute the crowd after the race. We do this for them, so to celebrate with them was such a great feeling.”
The win moved Morbidelli to seventh in the championship standings with 57 points.
While Morbidelli had a race to remember, his teammate Franco Quartararo had a race to forget after crashing out and fell to second in the standings with 70 points to trail new leader Andrea Dovizioso by six points.
“First of all I want to congratulate Franco, because he really deserved the win. It was a really tough race for me but it is what it is, I will learn from it, ” said Quartararo.
“I am disappointed as we had the speed to fight at the front but we learn from the experience and I won’t make the same mistake next weekend. We have seen five different winners in six races and it is one of the closest championships we’ve had, so I’m going to continue to give my best and try to make the title ours.”