Franco Morbidelli knocked ‘unconscious’ in Portimao crash, MotoGP rival Marquez stopped to help

Marc Marquez has shed more light on the accident that hospitalised Franco Morbidelli during free testing at Portimao earlier in the week, revealing his new Ducati MotoGP stablemate was knocked unconscious in the incident.

Prima Pramac Ducati rider Morbidelli spent a night in Faro Hospital after suffering what his team called ‘a bad crash’ during the latter stages of a two day WorldSBK test in Portugal.

Morbidelli was one of several MotoGP riders participating in the test – hosted by Ducati – aboard stock, track day-specification sportsbikes alongside the WorldSBK regulars, together with the likes of Valentino Rossi, the Marquez brothers, Pecco Bagnaia and Luca Marini.

Though little information was given at the time as to the extremities of the crash, Marquez – who Morbidelli has since thanked for checking on him in the direct aftermath of the crash in a post on social media – shed more light on the seriousness of the Italian’s spill, revealing he was found unconscious at Turn 8/9.

Speaking during a special GresinI Racing presentation in Jakarta, Indonesia, Marquez said both he and Alex came round to Morbidelli and out of concern for his safety stopped as the red flags came out to check on him.

“Me and Alex helped Franco,” he said. “We are opponents, but at the same time, we are mates.

“We were testing in Portimao, we saw a red flag, we were the first to arrive between Turn 8 and 9 and we saw that Franco was unconscious on the run-off area. He was, a little bit, in a strange position with his head up.

“Me and Alex, we stopped straight away. We left the bikes on the floor and ran to Franco to put him [in a better position], because when you are unconscious, you are looking to the [sky], it is dangerous because you cannot breathe well.

“We put him laterally. We opened his leather suit and opened his helmet. We waited for the medical staff. When the medical staff arrived, we just went back to the box. We are opponents, but at the same time mates. We want the best for our opponents.”

It is yet to be confirmed whether Morbidelli – who switches from Yamaha to Ducati for the 2024 MotoGP season – will be well enough to participate in the upcoming official pre-season test at Sepang, which starts on Tuesday, but rules around riders being knocked unconscious could prevent him from making the start.


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