A strong ride from PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team’s Franco Morbidelli saw him claim his and the team’s first podium of the 2021 season at Jerez, after ending the SpanishGP in third. Team-mate Valentino Rossi battled back from a poor start to cross the line 17th.
Morbidelli proved to be strong from the moment the lights went out until the chequered flag in today’s MotoGP race. The Italian held on to his second place off the line, but dropped back to third on the fourth lap. Although Franco drifted back from the front-runners in the middle of the race, falling back to fourth momentarily, he pushed hard and started to close the gap in the final laps. Defending hard from those behind, Morbidelli began to hone in on those ahead but ultimately could not catch them and crossed the line in a solid third, claiming his first podium of the season and moving into eighth in the World Championship with 33 points.
On the other side of the garage, team-mate Rossi didn’t have the best of starts and found himself down in 20th, after losing three places off the line. The Italian made steady progress in the opening five laps to return to his 17th place and set about trying to make it inside the points scoring positions. However, suffering with some rear grip issues, Valentino unfortunately could not find the pace to make it further up the field and, at the end of the 25 laps, he remained in 17th position at the chequered flag.
After a one-day test tomorrow, Morbidelli and Rossi will start their preparations for the fifth round of the season: the Grand Prix de France at Le Mans (14-16 May).