Rossi "very happy, very worried" about Bagnaia, Morbidelli

Valentino Rossi says he is “very happy” yet also “very worried” about taking on VR46 Academy riders Franco Morbidelli and Francesco Bagnaia in MotoGP this year.

Rossi "very happy, very worried" about Bagnaia, Morbidelli

The two graduates of seven-time champion Rossi's junior programme have been tipped to make an impact in the premier-class this year, with Morbidelli switching to a near factory-spec satellite Yamaha and rookie 'Pecco' Bagnaia handed a Ducati GP18.

Both riders were ahead of their mentor in the combined classification in last week's three-day pre-season test at Sepang.

“You know, when we start with the project of the academy, with Pecco, with Franco, we don't expect this problem, we don't expect that our rider arrive to fight with me,” Rossi said.

“So from one side we are very worried, I am very worried.

“From the other side we are very happy because in the academy we work well. We help riders that maybe can beat me.

“But we cannot go back, it's like this,” he joked.

Read also:

Petronas SRT rider Morbidelli was no lower than eighth overall in all three of his tests on the Yamaha so far, the M1 bike allowing him to run much closer to the front than the Marc VDS Honda he rode in his first season.

Morbidelli said he would draw extra motivation from going up against Rossi in 2019.

“Fighting with Vale, it's always nice. It's an extreme source of motivation, not just for me but for everybody,” Morbidelli said.

“Having a legend in front of you or on track with you gives you strength and gives you motivation to do better. So, it just feels good.”

Pramac recruit Bagnaia, who succeeded Morbidelli as Moto2 champion last year, made headlines in the Sepang test as he finished just 0.063s adrift of works Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci's track-record pace.

“I think great, is impressive, in the hot lap is fantastic, my congratulation,” Rossi said of Bagnaia, before quipping: “I hope that in the [race] pace is a bit more slow.”

He continued: “If you imagine that he's always fast in the test and make [1m]58.3[s], considering the small amount of experience, is quite impressive. I think we have to keep attention to him.”

Morbidelli likewise paid tribute to Bagnaia's performance, saying: “Pecco was super fast, what can I say? Congratulations to him, he's an impressive talent.”

Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont and Scherazade Mulia Saraswati

Francesco Bagnaia, Pramac Racing

Francesco Bagnaia, Pramac Racing
1/16

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Francesco Bagnaia, Pramac Racing

Francesco Bagnaia, Pramac Racing
2/16

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Francesco Bagnaia, Pramac Racing

Francesco Bagnaia, Pramac Racing
3/16

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Maverick Vinales, Yamaha Factory Racing, Francesco Bagnaia, Pramac Racing

Maverick Vinales, Yamaha Factory Racing, Francesco Bagnaia, Pramac Racing
4/16

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Francesco Bagnaia, Pramac Racing

Francesco Bagnaia, Pramac Racing
5/16

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Franco Morbidelli, Petronas Yamaha SRT

Franco Morbidelli, Petronas Yamaha SRT
6/16

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Franco Morbidelli, Petronas Yamaha SRT

Franco Morbidelli, Petronas Yamaha SRT
7/16

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Franco Morbidelli, Petronas Yamaha SRT

Franco Morbidelli, Petronas Yamaha SRT
8/16

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Franco Morbidelli, Petronas Yamaha SRT

Franco Morbidelli, Petronas Yamaha SRT
9/16

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Franco Morbidelli, Petronas Yamaha SRT

Franco Morbidelli, Petronas Yamaha SRT
10/16

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
11/16

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
12/16

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
13/16

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
14/16

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
15/16

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
16/16

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

shares
comments
Doohan: No reason Indian riders can't compete at world level

Previous article

Doohan: No reason Indian riders can't compete at world level

Next article

KTM, Tech 3 launch bikes for 2019 MotoGP season

KTM, Tech 3 launch bikes for 2019 MotoGP season
Load comments
Why MotoGP will miss its gentle giant Prime

Why MotoGP will miss its gentle giant

Danilo Petrucci’s days in MotoGP appear numbered, as KTM looks to completely reshuffle the Tech3 team for 2022. Though the Italian's 2021 season so far hasn’t been standout, the giant Italian covertly became a top runner in MotoGP across the last decade and brought with him a personality that world sport sorely needs more of

MotoGP
Jul 22, 2021
Why Mir's MotoGP title defence can't be written off yet Prime

Why Mir's MotoGP title defence can't be written off yet

Joan Mir’s defence of his MotoGP title has had an underwhelming start as Suzuki didn’t progress its championship-winning GSX-RR as much as its rivals did with their bikes over the winter. Speaking to Motorsport.com, Mir lays out why his title defence has been stalled so far and why he’s confident title number two is still within reach

MotoGP
Jul 12, 2021
How Quartararo became the MotoGP leader Yamaha needed Prime

How Quartararo became the MotoGP leader Yamaha needed

It's been six years since Jorge Lorenzo gave Yamaha its last MotoGP title in 2015. Since his departure at the end of 2016, Yamaha's form has been inconsistent but it has at last found a new talisman to return it to the top spot in the form of a precociously talented Frenchman who currently leads the standings.

MotoGP
Jul 6, 2021
Why the Vinales/Yamaha MotoGP divorce satisfies both parties Prime

Why the Vinales/Yamaha MotoGP divorce satisfies both parties

On Monday, Yamaha announced it will part ways with Maverick Vinales at the end of the 2021 season - a move requested by the rider. As the already strained relationship between both parties in MotoGP hit rock bottom in recent weeks, this divorce - as Oriol Puigdemont writes - is good for both Yamaha and Vinales for a number of reasons

MotoGP
Jun 28, 2021
The unexpected Rossi/Ducati MotoGP sequel offering redemption Prime

The unexpected Rossi/Ducati MotoGP sequel offering redemption

A decade after first linking up with Ducati in what turned out to be an ill-fated period in his MotoGP career, Valentino Rossi has joined forces with the Italian marque once more - this time as a team owner. And the VR46/Ducati tie-up beginning in 2022 has the potential to right the wrongs of Rossi and Ducati's nadir of 2011/2012.

MotoGP
Jun 24, 2021
Why Yamaha is about to risk losing Valentino Rossi Prime

Why Yamaha is about to risk losing Valentino Rossi

With Valentino Rossi’s next career move imminent in MotoGP, it is set to have wide-reaching influences on a number of riders and teams on the grid. But one of the biggest impacts will be felt at Yamaha, with its pivotal role in the saga set to see it lose its appointment with ‘The Doctor’

MotoGP
Jun 22, 2021
How Marquez beat his Honda in his heroic MotoGP comeback win Prime

How Marquez beat his Honda in his heroic MotoGP comeback win

Marc Marquez has been through hell and back in the 581 days between his win in the 2019 Valencia season finale and his heroic MotoGP comeback victory in Germany last Sunday. Despite battling physical limitations and a difficult 2021-spec Honda, the Sachsenring provided the perfect storm for the Spaniard to return to the top step

MotoGP
Jun 21, 2021
Why Quartararo’s suit penalty highlights a wider issue in MotoGP Prime

Why Quartararo’s suit penalty highlights a wider issue in MotoGP

OPINION: Fabio Quartararo racing with his leather suit open and subsequent penalty has been the main talking point of the Catalunya MotoGP weekend, which has highlighted a wider issue with MotoGP’s stewarding that risks a negative precedent going forward.

MotoGP
Jun 8, 2021