#Sepang8h 2019: MotoGP ace Franco Morbidelli looking forward to first Endurance experience

#Sepang8h 2019: MotoGP ace Franco Morbidelli looking forward to first Endurance experience

Franco Morbidelli is on fire at this weekend’s final round of the 2019 MotoGP™ World Championship but it won’t be his last race of the year. 

Morbidelli – with one round to go – ranks tenth in this year’s MotoGP championship, 18 points shy of Cal Crutchlow and 21 in front of Pol Espargaro. 

At Sepang he will ride for the Petronas Yamaha team, sharing a YART built R1 with MotoGP colleague Hafizh Syahrin and 3 times WorldSBK race winner Michael van der Mark.

“I am looking forward to it, it is going to be a nice experience,“ Morbidelli exclusively told EWC-Mag.com. “It will be my first time in Endurance and in an 8 hours race.”

So, what has been the longest time, Morbidelli has so far spent on a motorbike in a row? “Well, a MotoGP race, so 45 minutes – so that will be tough.”

Franco Morbidelli – Petronas Yamaha MotoGP. © highsidepr.com

The Italian admits, he does not really know what to expect from the competition with him and Hafizh Syahrin being current MotoGP riders, Michael van der Mark a front runner in World Superbikes – and a lot of former MotoGP riders such as Mike di Meglio and Niccolo Canepa riding at the sharp end of the field, and some “back markers” expected to be over 10 seconds slower than the front.

“I don’t know, we will have to see. I will just go there and try to have fun and do the maximum”, the Petronas man says. 

Morbidelli has got some advantages when it comes to the Sepang International Circuit, as he knows the track more than well from the races but also from MotoGP testing, which always takes place here. Also he knows the conditions with hot temperatures, high humidity and possible rain. But, beside spending a full hour on the bike, there is another new component to him: riding in the dark.

“I have never, never ridden at top speed by night,” the Yamaha rider concluded with a smile on his face.

Toni Börner