Morbidelli’s mentor and nine-time Grand Prix World Champion Rossi will continue his MotoGP career in a 26th season at SRT in 2021 after losing his place at Yamaha to Fabio Quartararo.
Three-time MotoGP race winner Morbidelli was one of the first riders to be selected for the VR46 academy. Rossi was a massive driving force in the 26-year-old’s Grand Prix career.
With the two merging in 2021, Morbidelli isn’t concerned that his relationship with Rossi could potentially deteriorate if they were on an equal footing at SRT as MotoGP is “just a game”.
“I have the same wish for Vale that I have for all my friends,” he said on Tuesday after SRT launched in 2021.
“So I hope to be fair, just, and right with all of my friends, not just Vale.
“Vale is a great friend of mine, and his figure may even be taller than a friend’s.
“And I hope to be fair and just and right to him in every aspect of life and in every aspect.
“We run against each other, and to be fair, right and just with him and with me, I have to run against him as much as I’ve raced against him all my life.
“Nothing will change.
“Of course we are fighting for something big, but we have to remember that nothing is as great as friendship, love and that’s it.
“So the human side is more important than games. This is just a game – quite an important one, a game we’ve been doing since we were little kids.
“But it’s still a game so we have to remember that when we fight and I hope we will fight for top spots and important things.”
Pushed on whether he’ll see Rossi as his main rival when he’s in the box or still as his friend, Morbidelli added, “I’ll see both of them. It’s difficult to part.
“Our thoughts never go in one direction; our thoughts always go in different directions and it is difficult to determine which one.
“Maybe at one moment and in one situation I will see him as the first to be hit and then five minutes later I will see him as my best friend or one of my best friends, so it is difficult to pinpoint which one .
“I’m sure when I’m racing and in the pits, I’ll feel more of the support.
“Well, the first driver who hits with certainty will have that feeling more. But it is difficult to separate the driver from the friend.”