Morbidelli: Riders "need to be a chameleon" to win MotoGP title

Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli says MotoGP riders “need to be a chameleon” in regards to riding style if they want to be a world champion.

Franco Morbidelli, Yamaha Factory Racing

Morbidelli spent the entirety of 2022 struggling to adapt his ultra-smooth riding style to the factory Yamaha, with the 2020 championship runner-up scoring just 42 points across the season compared to team-mate Fabio Quartararo’s 248 - which included three wins on his way to second in the standings.

While the Yamaha used to be known for its rider-friendly nature, recent iterations of the M1 have required a more aggressive style to get the best out of the bike, particularly in qualifying trim.

Morbidelli has worked over the winter on adapting his style and feels he is able to ride the Yamaha more aggressively than before.

He now thinks riders need to adapt more to the package they have than mould the bike around them if they are to have any hope of winning the championship.

“When I treat the bike, I always try to treat it gently,” Morbidelli said after last month’s Sepang pre-season test.

“But I think if you want to be a champion you need to be a chameleon and you have to have a style that your package requires.

Franco Morbidelli, Yamaha Factory Racing

Franco Morbidelli, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: MotoGP

“So, I don’t feel like a smooth rider anymore. If you saw, I took it away from my Instagram profile.

“I think we are riding pretty aggressive now, even if it’s an inline-four [cylinder engine bike], I think we are riding pretty aggressively.

“I didn’t pay attention a lot to other people actually, but at least in the corners I think – I don’t know, maybe I’m an optimistic guy – we are able to be sharp in the sharp corners and faster in the rounded corners.”

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Yamaha didn’t produce any standout times on the final day of last month’s Sepang test, with Quartararo and Morbidelli 17th and 20th overall.

Despite being happy with the step forward Yamaha had taken with its engine, Quartararo admitted the 2023 M1 is “a nightmare” in time attack mode.

Pre-season testing concludes this weekend with two final days of running at the Algarve International Circuit before the opening round of the year on 26 March in Portugal.

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