Morbidelli has endured a tough two years in the premier class after finishing runner-up in the standings in 2020 with three race wins.
The Italian was hit by a knee injury in the first half of 2021 having struggled for form on his 2019-spec Yamaha at Petronas SRT, before a mid-season move to the factory Yamaha squad and long into 2022 failed to produce any results.
Morbidelli scored 42 points across the 2022 season with a best finish of seventh as he struggled to adapt to the 2022-spec Yamaha, though felt he made a breakthrough in the final races in transitioning his riding style from a smoother one to a more aggressive approach.
The Valentino Rossi protege’s adaptation was slowed by his knee injury, as well as his change in team and massive step in bike spec, but these are facts that detractors simply take no notice of.
“I feel like a better rider,” he said in Valencia last month when asked by Autosport to compare how he rides now to when he was runner-up in 2020.
“I feel like difficulties make you stronger, and I feel like I changed many, many things when I swapped bikes.
“I changed crew, I changed ligament, I changed bike, and I changed team. So, many, many changes that slowed the process down.
“It’s normal [that people don’t appreciate your struggles]. I don’t care.
“People will not care about you like you care about you, or like your close people care about you. People just see what’s going on, on track.
“So, it really doesn’t make me feel angry, it’s normal, it’s how it goes.”
Franco Morbidelli, Yamaha Factory Racing
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Morbidelli thanked his Yamaha team for ‘hanging on tight’ to him through his troubles, adding: “When I arrived and I understood that it was going to be very tough to extract potential from the bike.
“They hung on tight, they stayed close to me and they always supported me, they always believed in me and I always believed in them.
“They are working and they kept working to improve the flaws that we all know that the bike has.
“We are in this together and I’m pleased to be able now to extract speed from the bike and to be able to change completely my style, going from being a smooth rider to being a very aggressive rider.
“So, I’m happy about the changes I was able to do. It was a tough season, but with a happy ending I would say.”