Morbidelli's Ducati MotoGP Adaptation Stalled by Missed Testing

Morbidelli's Ducati MotoGP Adaptation Stalled by Missed Testing



March 29th, 2024

Franco Morbidelli's switch to Ducati for the 2024 MotoGP season has hit a significant snag. A training crash and resulting concussion forced him to miss crucial pre-season testing, severely impacting his Ducati MotoGP adaptation. This lack of testing time has left Morbidelli struggling to adapt to the GP24 by instinct, hindering his performance.

The Portuguese Grand Prix weekend offered a glimpse into Morbidelli's struggles. Despite making some progress in understanding the Ducati MotoGP bike, he qualified a lowly 17th and finished the race in an equally disappointing 18th. A first-lap crash further dented his weekend, drawing criticism from Honda's Joan Mir.

Learning Curve Hinders Ducati MotoGP Adaptation

The root cause of Morbidelli's struggles lies in his missed pre-season testing. This crucial time allows riders to build a connection with their new machines, developing an instinctive feel for the bike's handling and performance. Without this foundation, Morbidelli is forced to overthink his riding, focusing on technical aspects rather than pushing his limits.

"What I'm missing the most now on the bike is knowledge and freedom of doing things by reflex," admitted Morbidelli. "I need to think too much about engaging the devices, on the gear lever, which is different to what I'm used to."

Potential Lies Beneath the Surface

While Morbidelli refrained from directly comparing the Yamaha and Ducati MotoGP bikes, he did hint at the GP24's potential. He was "impressed" by his raw pace in the Portuguese Grand Prix, suggesting it could have been good enough for a top-eight finish despite his limitations.

"The rhythm also on the race, riding without freedom and thinking about many things, so riding with margin, the rhythm was still good, was still good enough to be sixth, seventh," explained Morbidelli. "That was the most impressive, I was impressed by that. I feel very good with the package and I feel a lot of potential with the package."

The key for Morbidelli is to put in as many miles on the Ducati MotoGP bike as possible. This will allow him to develop the instinctive feel he currently lacks and unlock the bike's full potential. With enough time and dedication, Morbidelli can bridge the gap to his rivals and start challenging for podium finishes on the Ducati.

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Image credit of GettyImages

tag: Franco Morbidelli , Ducati

Klei Hoxha Author

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