Franco Morbidelli's rise to MotoGP frontrunner status has been one faced with many hardships, both on and off the track. An evidently talented prospect from a young age, inheriting a passion for motorcycles from his ex-racer father Livio, Morbidelli never had the funds to make it into the lower rungs of the grand prix ladder.
He was offered a development contract with the Pramac D'Antin Ducati team when he was just 11, but the deal collapsed and once more Morbidelli's career hopes stalled.
Still lacking in funds, Morbidelli moved into the World Superbike paddock in the European Superstock 600 class. The likelihood of reaching MotoGP from here was slim, but that didn't stop Morbidelli from impressing and quickly establishing himself as a frontrunner in the class, becoming champion in 2013.