Entertainment Valentino Rossi vs. Franco Morbidelli: Duel requires "true friendship"

09:30  05 march  2021
09:30  05 march  2021 Source:   motorsport-total.com

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Franco Morbidelli war der erste VR46-Schützling, der es in die MotoGP schaffte © Motorsport Images Franco Morbidelli was the first VR46 protégé to make it into MotoGP

MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi forms together with VR46 protégé Franco Morbidelli the Petronas Yamaha team in the 2021 season. "The team-mate is the first opponent," said Rossi. In order to save the friendship with Morbidelli, the two Italians have to treat each other fairly. Can that be done?

"You need a certain kind of relationship when you're racing against each other and being friends at the same time. It has to be a true friendship," explains Rossi. "It won't be easy, but we can do it. I hope we're both quick enough to win races."

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"I'm not worried because Franco, 'Pecco' (Francesco Bagnaia) and I race against each other almost every day," notes Rossi. "I expect that they will all be very quick, especially Franco. It will be special because we are team-mates. But we are a wonderful pairing. I am happy to be on the team with him."

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Rossi regularly drives against his protégés at the VR46 ranch. "We challenge each other two or three times a week with the motorcycles. We ride all kinds of motorcycles. I can see that I am still competitive," reports the 42-year-old.

"Sometimes I'm the fastest, sometimes there is someone who beats me. That is important. I like that. I want to prove that you can still be strong when you get older," explains Rossi, who was 26 years old . Season in the motorcycle world championship is.

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A few years ago he would never have dreamed that Rossi would meet three of his students in MotoGP. "The academy thing got a little out of hand," he jokes. "When we started I didn't expect to race against Franco, 'Pecco' or my brother. We did a good job and the drivers were great."

Valentino Rossi for Franco Morbidelli "more than a friend"

Rossi is more than just a mentor for team-mate Morbidelli. Morbidelli sees a friend in Rossi. "I treat my friends fairly and correctly - not just Vale, my other friends as well. Vale is a very good friend. Maybe he's more than a friend. I hope we are fair, just and right with one another," he comments the upcoming duel.

"We are racing against each other. I will treat him exactly as before," clarifies Morbidelli. "Nothing will change. Of course we are fighting for something big. But we have to be aware that nothing is greater than friendship and love. The human side is more important than the game. And that's just a game."

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