Newcomer to Pramac Ducati Franco Morbidelli only finishes P16 at the Valencia test: He has to adapt, especially on the brakes and at the entrance to corners
Franco Morbidelli began a new chapter in his career on Tuesday. After a disappointing time with the Yamaha factory team, he took over from Johann Zarco at Pramac and tested the Ducati Desmosedici for the first time
The switch to Ducati is a great opportunity for Morbidelli, as the lack of success with the Yamaha works team had left the Italian fearing for his future in MotoGP. After years with Marc-VDS-Honda, Petronas-Yamaha and the Yamaha factory team, Morbidelli is riding a non-Japanese motorcycle for the first time.
Getting to know him at the MotoGP test in Valencia went smoothly. However, compared to Marc Marquez, who switched from Honda to Ducati, Morbidelli needed considerably more time to set fast lap times. In the end, Morbidelli found himself in P16 in the daily standings after 69 laps, 0.953 seconds back.
“It was a positive first day. Everything went according to plan and we were able to do a lot of laps,” commented Morbidelli at MotoGP.com. “That was important to get to know the bike and understand it as well as possible.”
“I had to understand how the bike works and how to handle it. I rode the new bike right from the start and I’m pretty happy. There are a few things I still need to improve. We also have to adapt the bike to me a bit,” says Morbidelli, aware of this.
“But so far we haven’t adjusted anything. It was just about riding as many laps as possible,” is how he describes the test in Valencia. Pramac team manager Gino Borsoi commented on his new rider’s first day on Sky Sport.
“We used a kind of basic set-up,” revealed Borsoi. “Franco does not yet have everything perfectly under control when braking. The engine brake still needs to harmonize better with the rear brake.”
“He can’t ride aggressively yet and doesn’t have a perfect feel. He first needs to adapt his riding style at the entrance to corners,” analyzes the Pramac team manager, who hopes that Morbidelli will return to the form of 2020 in the 2024 season, when he finished runner-up: “I really want him to be back where he belongs: on the podium!”