Morbidelli primed for home race victory challenge
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli goes into his crucial home race at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli tomorrow optimistic he can battle for an eighth win of 2017.
Morbidelli treated a large and loud home crowd to a thrilling fight for pole position in this afternoon’s qualifying session, which followed his outstanding performance this morning when he topped free practice with the first sub 1’38 lap of the weekend.
The Italian carried that impressive pace and form into qualifying and he was immediately able to improve on his practice pace to set him on course to compete for a sixth pole position of the year.
Determined to take a second pole position on home soil this season, Morbidelli pushed his Kalex machine to its absolute limit to fire in a late lap of 1’37.473. That secured the Italian a deserved second place on the grid, with Morbidelli just failing to halt Mattia Pasini’s golden qualifying run, after he took a fourth successive pole position.
Morbidelli has shown throughout the weekend though that he has the pace in full race trim to fight for the victory in the 26-lap race, though all eyes will be on the skies tomorrow, with forecasts strongly suggesting rain could play a key role in proceedings.
Morbidelli will be the sole representative from Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS in tomorrow’s Moto2 race, with Álex Márquez ruled out by the left hip injury he suffered in an FP1 fall on Friday morning.
Franco Morbidelli: 2nd – 1’37.473
“Today was a good day because this morning was quite difficult. The conditions were not easy with so much wind around but I was still able to be fast. The wind was less for qualifying and we could push closer to the limit again and honestly I am happy, even though I didn’t get the pole I wanted for my fans. I’ve got good pace for the race and I am confident I can be strong. We now must figure out a way to beat Pasini in qualifying because he is on an incredible run. Congratulations to him because he did very well and I am looking forward to a good battle tomorrow.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“It would have been great for Franco to take pole position in front of his home crowd but Pasini is proving to be quite a pain for us on a Saturday afternoon! I’m not sure how he can keep producing these brilliant fast laps to take pole position but you must give him a lot of credit. We know how well Franco is riding and how hard he is pushing, so Pasini is doing a fantastic job to be faster. The most important part of the weekend though is the race and our consistency with our race set-up gives us a lot of confidence. A front row start tomorrow is important and I think on paper we have the best chance to make a strong race tomorrow. I know Franco would love to win here in Misano and I think he has a great opportunity to do that.”