MotoGP Yamaha Presentation: Q&A with Franco Morbidelli

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Yamaha became the first manufacturer to unveil its 2023 MotoGP livery in Jakarta, Indonesia, on the morning of January 17. The new camouflage design was revealed by Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli.

Yamaha sat down with each rider for a Q&A session to coincide with the presentation. Here’s what Morbidelli had to say ahead of his 2023 campaign with the factory team.

1. How was your winter break?

“It was pretty good. I replenished my energy. I had some rest, and then I started moving pretty early in the winter. I did some on track motorbikes, karting, and some motocross too. I remained active on the bike and trained.

“I didn’t go on holiday anywhere far. I wanted to spend some time at home and really appreciate and enjoy it before the whole rollercoaster starts again at the end of January.”

2. How did you regroup and refocus after the 2022 season?

“It’s important to rest, and it’s important to detach a bit from all the technical thinking and the thinking about motorcycles. We reset and restart, and with a refreshed mind and refreshed energies I’m ready to attack, consolidate what I saw at the last part of the 2022 season, and make another step. There’s a lot I’m looking forward to at the start of this new season.”

Franco Morbidelli #21 onboard his Yamaha M1 MotoGP bike

3. What are you taking from 2022 into 2023?

“They say that when you struggle you learn the most. I’ve learned a lot last year, and I want to put on track what I understood last year and step it up with some positive energy that I got from the nice work I did during the winter.”

4. How do you feel about the new MotoGP race weekend format?

“I’m looking forward to facing this new racing format during the race weekends. I’m looking forward to testing it. I think it’s going to be nice. Let’s see!”

5. How are you preparing for 21 GP weekends and sprint races? And do you reckon sprint races play to your strengths?

“It’s going to be difficult to prepare because I really don’t know what to expect from the sprint races. It’s a completely blank canvas for everyone, so it’s difficult to understand and anticipate what will happen.”

6. How do you think such a long season should be faced? What would be the strategy to follow?

“The strategy is to give everything: in every practice and on every lap. Try to understand well how to extract potential from the new bike and the new features to be fast on every lap and in every session.”

Franco Morbidelli kneels next to his 2023 Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP bike

7. What goals are you setting for 2023?

“For 2023, as I said, it will be important to start the season with the same speed I had at the end of 2022 and, from that base, step it up and be even faster. We will try to be closer to the leaders and, if possible, fight for top positions. If that’s not the case straight away, we will still work our hardest to get to the top as fast as possible.”

8. What was your first thought when you saw the new 2023 M1 livery design in real life?

“I really like the new bike livery! It’s more aggressive and the style is a bit more modern. It gives the bike a more modern look, so, yes, I like it.”

9. What is needed from you and from the team to hit the ground running in 2023?

“I know everybody in the crew and in the team will be starting the upcoming tests with a lot of energy and a lot of belief in the work we’ll be doing, also because of what we saw in the last stages of 2022 and the feeling we had of what we can improve in 2023.

“So, I know everybody in the crew is going to be really pumped up for the start of the season. And that mindset is exactly what we need. We need to start the new season with good energy and a can-do spirit.”

10. Your fan base is rallying behind you, both at the track and on social media. Is there anything that you want to say to your fans.

“Lately, I’ve been receiving a lot of messages of support, also in the comments. I was really pleased to see that. I’m giving it my best to not let down the people that believe in me. I will be trying the maximum to redeem last year’s season, step it up, and give the fans some nice races and battles to enjoy this year.”

The first MotoGP pre-season test of the year takes place at Sepang, starting with the Shakedown test on February 5-7 and the official test on February 10-12. The paddock then heads to Portimao for a two-day test on March 11-12.