Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli has won an intense and exciting race to win the prestigious MotoGP Rookie of the Year award in 2018.
The Italian has brilliantly showcased the same talent and determination that led him to become Moto2 World Champion last year to defeat a high-quality group of rookies this season.
Without any shadow of doubt, Morbidelli stepped into the elite MotoGP arena for the first time this season when competition in the premier class was arguably at its toughest in history.
Knowing full well the size of the task ahead of him to master Honda’s RC213V machine and be competitive in such a strong field, Morbidelli started his maiden MotoGP season determined to give his best again.
Five other rookies joined Morbidelli on the full-time grid, all of them blessed with immense talent and potential. One of those that stood out the most in that crop was Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS teammate Tom Lüthi, who pushed Morbidelli so hard in an engrossing Moto2 title battle in 2017.
The fast five was completed by Takaaki Nakagami, Xavier Simeon, and Hafizh Syahrin, who emerged as Morbidelli’s strongest opponent for the coveted Rookie of the Year prize.
Morbidelli made an instant impact in MotoGP when he led home the rookie challenge in the season’s opening round in Qatar. He repeated that result in the third outing of the year in Austin and also in Jerez, Circuit-de-Barcelona-Catalunya, Brno, Misano, MotorLand Aragon, Phillip Island, Sepang and Valencia.
A season best eighth place in a typically hard battle in Phillip Island proved the decisive moment in his battle with Syarhin, as he moved 12-points clear of the Malaysian with just two races remaining. Even if he did not finish the race in Valencia, he secured the Rookie of the Year title with a total of 50 points.
Franco Morbidelli - 2018 MotoGP Rookie of the Year:
“I am very happy to win this title. It was a difficult year, I struggled a lot but finally with consistency and with a lot of work from the team we managed to get enough points for Rookie of the Year. This is fantastic for the team and myself and a good way to say goodbye to Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS.”
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