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Morbidelli/Rossi relationship won’t change as MotoGP teammates

MotoGP 2020 runner-up Franco Morbidelli says “nothing will change” between himself and Valentino Rossi as Petronas SRT teammates as “nothing is as big as friendship”.

Morbidelli/Rossi relationship won’t change as MotoGP teammates

Morbidelli’s mentor and nine-time grand prix world champion Rossi will continue his MotoGP career into a 26th season in 2021 with SRT after losing his factory Yamaha place to Fabio Quartararo.

Three-time MotoGP race winner Morbidelli was one of the first riders to be selected for the VR46 Academy, with Rossi a massive driving force in the 26-year-old’s grand prix career.

With the pair joining forces in 2021, Morbidelli isn’t worried about his relationship with Rossi potentially deteriorating should they be evenly matched at SRT as MotoGP “is just a game”.

“I make to myself with Vale the same wish that I make to myself towards all my friends,” he said on Tuesday following SRT’s 2021 launch.

“So, I hope to be fair, just and right with all my friends, not just with Vale.

“Vale is a big friend of mine and his figure is maybe even bigger than that of a friend. And I hope to be fair and just and right towards him in every aspect of life and in every aspect.

“We race against one another, and to be fair, right and just with him and with me I need to race against him in the same way that I’ve been racing against him all my life. Nothing is going to change.

“Of course, we are fighting for something big, but we need to remember that nothing is as big as friendship, love and that’s it.

“So, human side is more important than games. This is just a game – a pretty important one, a game that we do since we were little kids.

“But it’s still a game, so we need to remember this when we are fighting, and I hope we will be fighting for top spots and important things.”

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Pressed on if he will see Rossi as his main rival when he’s in the box or still as his friend, Morbidelli added: “I will see both. It’s difficult to split.

“Our thoughts never go in one direction; our thoughts always go in different directions and it’s difficult to pinpoint one.

“Maybe in one moment and in one situation I will see him as the first guy to beat and then five minutes later I will see him as my best friend or one of my best friends, so it’s difficult to pinpoint one of the two.

“I’m sure when I’m racing, and I am in the pit box I will feel more that support feeling.

“So, the first rider to beat for sure I will have that feeling more. But it’s difficult to split the rider from the friend.” 

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