A second win of the season has moved Franco Morbidelli to within 25 points of MotoGP title leader Joan Mir, with three rounds and 75 points remaining.

Of the top six title contenders, the Italian is the only true satellite rider, using a lower-spec machine compared to the Factory Yamahas of Maverick Vinales, Valentino Rossi and his own Petronas team-mate Fabio Quartararo.

That could also mean he's potentially the most 'dangerous' of the championship frontrunners, able to ride more freely by seeing only what he might gain rather than lose.

Either way, Morbidelli plans to be ' aggressive' in the remaining races 'to see what we can achieve'.

"It feels good going into the final three races of the year after the second win of the season at Aragón," said Morbidelli, who is now fourth in the standings behind Mir, Quartararo and Vinales.

"Valencia can be a tricky circuit when riding a MotoGP bike, as it’s narrow and the MotoGP bikes have so much power on a track that’s quite small, compared to other categories. But it is a place that I love, because it’s where I made my first step into big-wheeled motorsport, in a Spanish championship.

"I’m feeling great on the bike, we will work to keep the same feeling at this circuit and be fighting again for the top places.

"We go there just 25 points from being at the top of the championship standings, so I want to be aggressive in these final races at Valencia and Portimão to see what we can achieve."

While Morbidelli soared to victory last time in Aragon, Vinales and Quartararo languished behind him in seventh and eighth on their Factory spec machines, 14-seconds from victory.

"The new [Factory-spec] Yamaha has really strong points and it has weak points compared to my [A-spec] Yamaha," Morbidelli said.

"So it’s difficult to compare the data actually, because the lines that you see are so different because the bikes that you are analysing are different."

But a general summary of riding style between the Petronas pair would be that "Fabio's a little bit more aggressive and I’m a little bit more smooth."

One new development common to not only the Yamahas but many other bikes on the grid is the new Ohlins rear shock.

Since the part is available to everyone, the key to gaining an advantage is to find a set-up that exploits the strengths of the new shock as quickly as possible.

"Yeah, we tried the shock [at Aragon 2] and it looked that we had more edge grip," Morbidelli confirmed. "That’s what we were missing [at the first Aragon] weekend.

"We were able, and I think this was the key, to adapt the setting very fast to this different shock.

"We did great in the race after that, after doing such an amazing job in setting up the bike in such a short time with this different item."

He added: "We tried to set up the bike for when the tyre grip was dropping, and it paid off because I felt great all race long. So thanks to the team. They did a wonderful job. If I won today, it’s because of them."

 

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