Franco Morbidelli was happy that he was able to secure a new contract with Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP in time but now worries about it. He knows that he will likely be out of a job in 2024.
Among other things, the calmness that has been Morbidelli’s trademark in his career has left him: he fears that Yamaha may terminate his contract with him at the last moment. Stability in the MotoGP paddock is no longer there, believes the Italian.
In fact, there is no reason to worry about an early break with Yamaha: the Japanese do so in extremely rare cases, as an exception, and then only by mutual agreement of the parties. Morbidelli, unlike Maverick Vinales, does not show “strange behavior”, but on the contrary, tries to achieve success in every possible way. Only there is no success for various reasons…
“It’s obvious to me that when a pilot doesn’t perform as expected of him, he can’t feel safe. First, a normal athlete purely psychologically won’t be comfortable knowing he’s not reaching his goals. Secondly, the employer has reason to reconsider the relationship — for me, it’s normal, I understand them well, so I’m not sitting back,” Morbidelli said, speaking to German reporters last week.
The MotoGP market is a very shaky one, with some very real cases of mid-season contract breaks. The most recent is the firing of Romano Fenati and his replacement with another rider. Morbidelli, however, is not considering such a radical scenario:
“We are absolutely loyal to each other – me and the team, and I trust them just as much as they expect results from me and believe in my potential. They are good people, I don’t have the slightest reason to panic. So, I sincerely hope for good results to dispel all doubts about 2023. And that will be task number 2, no less difficult, to keep my seat.”
The precariousness of the rider’s position in MotoGP in 2022 is clear: “First of all it’s a shame that one of the most highly qualified teams is out of work overnight – I’m talking about Suzuki! They are one of the most cohesive and coolest teams in the paddock. But even Dorna can’t help them, even though they all have contracts with the factory. It’s a bad situation. What can we say about private teams?! Any unpleasantness can upset MotoGP’s established way of doing things. Things change too fast.
Morbidelli is surprised by the calmness with which Joan Mir and his manager talk about the contract with Repsol Honda. Paco Sanchez has stated it as a fait accompli, although the contract has not yet been signed. Same with the situation with Alex Rins, who is sure to spend next season at LCR Honda… but both appointments have not been announced by Honda!
“No one can be sure of the future today, even when the contract is signed and on your desk! Nobody. Anyone who quietly drifts with the current and believes in a bright future is foolish. There are too many reasons to fear…”
After 11 stages in 2022, Franco Morbidelli has earned only 25 points and ranks 19th in the MotoGP championship – his worst result since the beginning of his career! Frankie can hardly be reassured by the fact that Grand Prix veteran Andrea Dovizioso in the RNF Yamaha saddle has earned even less – only 10 points, which is also a big surprise for everyone.