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Franco Morbidelli lifestyle photoshoot

Franco Morbidelli talks about his fascinating new ‘Morbidelli Rising’ TV series

Mar 032019

Franco Morbidelli took a bumpy, exciting and sometimes dramatic route to the 2018 MotoGP Rookie of the Year crown. The enigmatic Italian captured fans, hearts and admirers for his brilliant 2017 Moto2 World Championship and was rightfully accelerated into the premier class of Grand Prix as one of the brightest of the ‘next generation’. The 24 year old waded through a didactic maiden MotoGP campaign, the trials and tribulations of which were captured in frame by ‘Morbidelli Rising’: the excellent new series on Insight TV and part of their ‘Speed Seekers’ season.

To find out more about how Franco handled the experience of the extra lenses and dealt with the revelations into his training and approach to life away from the MotoGP asphalt, we grabbed some more time with the Petronas Yamaha man as the multi-part documentary hit the screens.

"The more I go forward with my career and – thank god – the higher the level I reach the more attention I have and the more love or interest I have from people."

How was it being the subject of a dedicated series? You have cameras around you all the time at MotoGP races but this must have been something different…

It was a nice experience and I had fun. The people that were working on that project were great with me and I had a good connection with them. I felt good in that environment and it was not a problem having more cameras – apart from those associated with my job – around me when I was home or training at The Ranch. So the people were important.

Is this kind of attention and the interest people have in you now a marker of your success?

I guess. The more I go forward with my career and – thank god – the higher the level I reach the more attention I have and the more love or interest I have from people. It’s a natural thing I suppose. I’m getting quite used to it and I feel good. I feel it’s part of the job and I cannot complain about it.

Is it good that people and fans can discover a side of you that they don’t normally see? Again because ‘Morbidelli Rising’ is not just about you at a MotoGP circuit…

Yeah, I think people nowadays like to share a lot of their private lives and lifestyles with social media. I like to keep my private life quite private. I like to keep things just for me and the few people in those moments with me. It is a different way of acting. So this series was a way to show perhaps a side of me that had been in the shade. It was a good occasion and a good way to share and so fans can see more aspects of my life.

It has to be a positive thing also that it shows the demands of racing? Fans usually see you on the track and through post-race interviews but here they can see the work, elation, frustration and more emotions…

Yes, it’s a good thing to show. You [fans] always get to see the ‘bright side’ of the circus but you cannot see the compromises or maybe some of the suffering to get to that level. So it’s good that it shows the struggles behind our sport.

Tell us something new about you that fans will find out by watching ‘Morbidelli Rising’?

Something new? I’ve still have to check the finished programmes out also so I’m curious as to what made the final cut! Basically this documentary series is a great general picture of me and what my life is all about and what I really care about. It also shows how I live and how I want to in the future. 2018 was a difficult year, a learning year so I guess the story will be nice and, thankfully, it has a good ending. I think it will be interesting and fun to watch. I hope it will also inspire some people to start racing, or who are competing and are facing the difficulties that I faced in my career story.

"2019 is about having fun: finally! I believe the feeling of 2015, ’16 and 17 has come back."

A racing season can make for good TV because there are many emotions and highs and lows. For you it was the injury, the situation with the team and then that great result near the end of the season in Australia…

Yeah! It was a good script and designed well! It almost looks like a nice movie. 2018 just came out like this. Some moments were thrilling, even in training, and at the end of the day sometimes I thought ‘it’s like somebody knows we are filming this…’ It was a racing season but it was also just life: struggles and hard moments but if you think in a certain way then you can overcome those difficulties. You can come out stronger.

2018 was a debut MotoGP year. Was it a weird kind of pressure compared to 2017 where the spotlight was harsh from the first race all the way until you won the Moto2 title?

A different kind of experience because I was used to different positions in 2017. In the last couple of seasons I was racing and reaching the positions I thought were possible and it was an achievable goal. Last year was really difficult due to many reasons such as technical and struggles in the team. For whatever reason we couldn't really ‘see the light’. I was still aiming for the positions I wanted but I wasn't able to get them or reach that level and it was a bit frustrating. It was important to keep in my mind the Rookie of the Year title and I had to focus on that. It wasn’t easy though. I was trying and trying [on track] and I got hurt also. I came back and got hurt again. Difficult. But we fought hard and came out stronger and with that title.

2019: what is it about?

2019 is about having fun: finally! I believe the feeling of 2015, ’16 and 17 has come back. We have good potential and a good machine and we can fight for good positions. We have been quite fast in testing. It will be fun. I feel ‘linked’ with people inside the team and my crew. We don't have any pressure because we are a satellite team but we know we can do some great things. We have that ability and potential.