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Morbidelli questions Yamaha's priorities post Qatar disaster
The Italian said he's "not on the top of Yamaha's list" before querying "with what rush" they would fix the issue that saw him slump to 18th
Tensions between Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and Yamaha look to be fraught following a disappointing start to the 2021 MotoGP™ World Championship that saw last year's runner-up slump to 18th. A problem with his Yamaha M1 moments before the lights went out in Qatar, believed to be with his holeshot device, saw the three-time race winner quickly drop backwards and out of points contention on the opening lap.
Speaking after the season-opener in Qatar to motogp.com, Morbidelli pointed the finger at Yamaha: "I know I'm not on the top of Yamaha's list at the moment," said an irate Italian, clearly feeling both Monster Energy Yamaha men Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Viñales, plus teammate Valentino Rossi, are ahead of him in the pecking order despite last year's heroics. The former Moto2™ World Champion is one of only three men on the grid not to be riding 2021 machinery, along with premier class rookies Enea Bastianini (Esponsorama Racing) and Luca Marini (SKY VR46 Esponsorama).
In 2020, he was able to make the most of a 12-month-old package to finish just 13 points adrift of eventual World Champion Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar). But, as nearly every other rider on the grid made a step forwards with new machinery for 2021, Morbidelli has stood still and is now two years behind the rest by continuing to ride predominantly a 2019 Yamaha M1.
Morbidelli's jibes at Yamaha after the race then continued as he questioned how bothered the Iwata factory would be that he suffered an issue during the race: "I don't know with what rush they will take this problem," said the Petronas Yamaha SRT man. "But I hope they will take it with a lot of seriousness."
Morbidelli won't be riding a 2021 bike for the rest of the year, with rules forbidding him from receiving an upgrade halfway through the year. Instead, he will remain on the 'A-spec' Yamaha M1, different from the 'factory-spec' machines that Qatar GP winner Viñales, plus Quartararo and Rossi, ride. There is no doubt that the Italian will bounce back and we won't see him languishing outside of the points very often. But the relationship between Yamaha and himself does appear strained following the out-of-character outburst on Sunday night.
What a frenetic (and fantastic!) Q2. Pramac Ducatis 1 and 2. Not sure whether they (well, Martin in particular) can maintain that over a race distance but it should be a great race.
Factory Ducatis being outridden by the Pramacs
Moto3 riders John McPhee and Jeremy Alcoba handed pit lane starts for 'fighting' after a clash in the Doha Moto3 Grand Prix.
UPDATE: John McPhee has released the following statement:
"I let my emotions get the better of me in Qatar, having been taken down for the second week in succession as a consequence of another rider’s mistake.
"I must apologise for my conduct – I didn’t react well to the incident.
"It is an adrenaline-fuelled sport, with obvious inherent danger; having a competitor’s bike strike my head triggered an out-of-character response and I’d like to apologise to the fans, my team, Petronas and our partners.
"I accept the penalty and will move onto Portimao focused on the task at hand."
John McPhee's nightmare start to the 2021 Moto3 season continues with the Scotsman punished with a pit lane start +10 seconds for 'fighting with another rider'.
Now taken out of both Qatar races, frustration got the better of the Scotsman when he was struck on the side of the head by Jeremy Alcoba's bouncing bike as he battled for victory in the closing stages of Sunday's Doha Grand Prix.
While fortunately avoiding serious injury, a furious McPhee was then seen pushing and kicking out at the Spaniard, who had fallen after clipping the back of McPhee's Petronas team-mate and race leader Darryn Binder into Turn 1.
Race Direction deemed the scuffle 'fighting with another rider' and 'therefore an infringement' of the regulations, 'being detrimental to the interests of the sport'. McPhee has also been fined 1,000 Euros.
I thought this may happen. You can't punch and kick another rider and expect to get away with it. I can understand the frustration as not only is he a title favourite on one of the better bikes, but he has the added knife in the back of seeing his teammate with two successive podiums. Interesting though that the apology doesn't seem to include Alcoba as a recipient. I wonder if that was deliberate.
What a c*nt. How is that retard still allowed to race?McPhee has history with Alcoba and Alcoba has a reputation for being a bit reckless. Keep in mind that Alcoba damn near rammed Darryn off as well in that incident. He went in way too hot.
Alcoba is the same guy that swerved and whacked Darryn Binder last year and in the same race done something similar to McPhee on two occasions. I'm also certain that Alcoba crashed McPhee out a couple of times last year as well. I know he took him out in France last year but there may have been another incident as well.
This is the sort of rider Alcoba can be;
On top of this McPhee was crashed out in round 1 as well while minding his own business. All things considered, in the heat of the moment McPhee's response was understandable. Once again you are taken out through no fault of your own and once again it involves Alcoba. Not the right response, but I can understand the frustration.
What a c*nt. How is that retard still allowed to race?
It was hilarious though, that kick McPhee gave him.
First big announcement for next year.
Fabio Di Giannantonio will step up from Moto2 and join Gresini.
The announcement also revealed that Aprilia is splitting with Gresini and finally taking their MotoGP operation in-house as a full factory operation. Gresini will revert back to full satellite status. No decision yet on what bike they will run, but rumours are either continuing with Aprilia or joining forces with Suzuki. Suzuki however has not yet announced whether they want to commit the resources to supporting a satellite team.