Franco Morbidelli says his maiden MotoGP podium in the Czech Grand Prix is “mostly because of” his mentor Valentino Rossi, who he says is “like a big brother” to him.
The Petronas SRT rider led for the first 12 laps of Sunday’s Brno race on his Petronas SRT Yamaha, before ultimately taking his first podium in second place after eventual race winner Brad Binder passed him on the 13th tour.
Morbidelli made his MotoGP debut in 2018 as the reigning Moto2 world champion, becoming the first rider from the VR46 Academy to make the step to the premier class.
The Italian’s route to MotoGP was unconventional, having stepped to Moto2 from the European Superstock 600 series.
Commenting on the role Rossi played in his Brno podium, Morbidelli said: “I am here mostly because of him, because he believed in me when I was a nobody.
“So, I know it’s a