Petronas Yamaha SRT MotoGP rider Franco Morbidelli ended an eventful day happy after a front row start made up for a huge highside at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
The Italian lost the rear of his M1 during FP3, firing him into the gravel in a horrible looking injury. Morbidelli was stretchered away and taken to the medical centre for checks, only to be declared fit for the afternoon qualifying session.
After successfully navigating his way through Q1, Morbidelli found himself qualifying in fourth place, 0.001 seconds behind Maverick Vinales in third. After the session, Vinales was given a penalty, promoting Morbidelli to third place for Sundays race.
“The day didn’t start well, I had a violent crash this morning, but the team did really well to repair the bike for FP4 and Q1,” said the 2017 Moto2 World Champion.
“I didn’t know what to expect once I got back on the bike, but luckily the same good sensation I had before the crash were still there.
“I was able to move on to Q2 and fourth [third after Vinales’ penalty] place turned the day around, I’m happy.”
When asked about the crash itself, Morbidelli said: “It was one of the hardest crashes of my career, I lost control of the bike at 192 km/h.
“I wasn’t going any faster than usual though, so I don’t know why I crashed. Luckily it didn’t happen in a later session. I am feeling pain all over really, and I’ll go to the Clinca later to see what I can do to improve my condition.”
Morbidelli has an opportunity to get a career best finish in tomorrow’s race with the four Yamaha bikes all qualifying inside the top five. The Italian believes he has good pace, but that the Suzuki of Alex Rins is the man to beat.
“My pace is great and during practice I felt good over many laps, but the race is always different,” he said.
“I’ve made steps forwards, so we’ll see where I end up. As for the race, I think Rins is the man to beat, even if he’s starting eighth, everyone else is close.”