04/15/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 04/15/2019 09:49
Petronas Yamaha SRT's Franco Morbidelli was unsurprisingly delighted to walk away from the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas with a career best MotoGP™ finish, describing himself as being 'very, very happy' after scrapping his way to fifth place.
The Italian was left with some work to do after admitting he didn't have the greatest Saturday, only managing to qualify on the fourth row in tenth, but a committed opening few laps saw him at one point move through to sixth after catching and passing World Championship leader Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati).
After Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) crashed out, the 2017 Moto2™ World Champion was elevated to fourth but with nine laps remaining Dovi squeezed past and Morbidelli had to settle for fifth, far exceeding his previous best premier class finish of eighth from Sepang of 2018.
'I'm very, very happy about this fifth position,' said the 24-year-old at COTA. 'We started a bit too far back because yesterday wasn't a great qualifying, but I was confident that today in the race I could be fast. This is what I managed to do, catch up many positions and yeah, we'll bring this good result to Jerez and we hope to also do a good job there.'
Morbidelli isn't getting carried with the top five finish though and won't be immediately reassessing his goals for the season, instead understanding that there will be more challenges to come in his first year aboard a Yamaha M1 and in the team's debut season in the championship.
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'Every track is new for me because it's a new bike and I don't know how it will react at each track. So, for me there's a question mark with that but I'll be ready to work very hard and to make a good job.'
Despite now finishing ahead of his rookie teammate Fabio Quartararo in two of the opening three rounds, the Frenchman is one point ahead of Morbidelli in the standings. You can be assured one of the Italian's primary thoughts heading into Jerez will be to once again be the first Petronas Yamaha SRT machine across the line and to consequently move ahead of the 19-year-old in the World Championship.