SRT Petronas Yamaha MotoGP rider Franco Morbidelli is quietly confident of a chances of a strong race performance after returning to the front row, qualifying in the middle of the front row in Motegi.
The Italian made the most of the mixed conditions in qualifying to secure his first front row start since Barcelona. The Italian said that he is confident in his pace in both the wet and dry conditions and believes he is ready for the race.
“It’s great to be back on the front row. We have been decently strong throughout the weekend, yesterday we were fast all day and this morning we were fast on wet,” said the 24-year-old.
“We were also fast in a hot lap this afternoon, so we have a good position to start tomorrow.
“We will have to see the weather, because we don’t know, looks like it’s going to be dry and yesterday we had a good feeling with dry weather. We are ready for the race.”
Since the summer break the Yamaha M1 has seen an uptick in performance with all four riders finding themselves regularly inside the top ten. When asked what has changed for the Yamaha, he said: “I think it’s a combination of two things. One is Fabio because he arrived and showed with this bike it’s possible to do amazing things and possible to be unbelievably fast, so I think it gave the right motivation to improve.
“And Yamaha of course improved the package, so this brought all four Yamaha’s much ahead in the standings.”
One of the stronger points of the 2019 M1 is being able to mask its deficiencies with its strengths, keeping it competitive in both qualifying and races. Morbidelli said that he hasn’t had a chance to compare his M1 to other bikes but is impressed with how his Yamaha is performing.
“On the paper this doesn’t look like a Yamaha track,” he said.
“But when we came here, I find out that the bike is working very well here. Its working very well since a lot of races, so was a positive surprise and we were fast.
“I didn’t have a chance to ride with other brands, I saw just Dovi for a couple of corners but didn’t see for good where he is stronger or weaker.”