Franco Morbidelli strengthened his hopes of landing the runners-up spot in the 2020 MotoGP World Championship standings with a recovery to the front row of the grid having only just escaped out of Q1 by a mere tenth of a second.
Arriving at the Portuguese MotoGP finale on the back of a third victory this season, the success has moved Morbidelli into a provisional runners-up spot. He now heads into tomorrow’s race as one of six riders with a mathematical chance of securing second overall, while he also stands on the cusp of top Yamaha status.
The end result notwithstanding, the story could have been very different for the Petronas SRT Yamaha rider however after he failed to crack the top ten in FP3, forcing him to fight for the final two available spots into Q2 via Q1. In the end Morbidelli would make it through, albeit by only a tenth of a second over Brad Binder.
Once in Q2, however, Morbidelli upped the momentum to pump in the first sub-1m 39secs lap of the weekend, an effort only Miguel Oliveira would surpass en route to pole position.
“It was definitely a thriller today. I didn’t feel so good this morning, we had been trying some things and unfortunately I wasn’t able to get directly into Q2 so I needed to fight my way up from Q1 and I know that it’s a difficult task because it is full of strong riders.
“I hoped that my 1m 39.2 was enough, which it was, but by only a small amount and when I saw that Brad was coming in hot I was scared
“But luckily for me I could improve sector four so I made Q2 and I made a huge jump. I was fast and close to Miguel, which is a good thing.
“That is how MotoGP can be – just 0.1s I could have ended up 13th and instead I ended up second.”