25 November 2014
MotoGP star Rossi: VR46 Academy keeps me young!
“It helps me also because working with the young riders keeps me more young” - Valentino Rossi.
Those lucky enough to be part of MotoGP star Valentino Rossi's VR46 Academy are not the only ones to benefit - Rossi believes it helps keep him young.
The 35-year-old Italian also mischievously suggested that he sometimes tests new ideas on the Academy riders when training together at his moto ranch!
“For me it is great,” he said of the VR46 Academy, set-up alongside Rossi's new Moto3 team at the start of this season. “It helps me also because working with the young riders keeps me more young. It is very, very funny. We share a lot of time training together. Sincerely, we test some things on them before I try! I think it is very good also for me.”
As well as race winner Romano Fenati and team-mate Francesco Bagnaia run by the VR46 Moto3 team this season, other members of the Academy are Franco Morbidelli (Moto2), Niccolo Antonelli (Moto3), Andrea Migno (Moto3), Nicolò Bulega (CEV) and Rossi's half-brother Luca Marini (CEV).
Migno will take Bagnaia's place in Rossi's Sky-backed KTM Moto3 squad next year, with Bagnaia moving to the new Aspar Mahindra team. Morbidelli will remain with Italtrans, while Antonelli is switching from Gresini KTM to Ongetta Honda.
Much of Antonelli's season was marred by race mistakes, although five front row starts - including a debut pole at the Valencia finale - confirmed his raw speed.
“With Nico we tried from the beginning of the season to concentrate on the mistakes and try to check all the small details to improve the performance,” Rossi, pictured with Antonelli and Morbidelli, explained.
“Nico is very, very fast in qualifying, but now he tries to work also for the race and in the last races he did a good step. In Sepang he arrived in seventh place but only 1.8 from victory. This was his best race.”
Meanwhile, what do Rossi and Yamaha need to work on, in order to beat Honda's reigning MotoGP champion Marc Marquez in 2015?
“I think that first of all with my team, with Silvano [Galbusera, crew chief], with one more year experience of MotoGP and especially one more year working together, we can improve our way to work. And we can have good data for the settings for next year,” said the seven time MotoGP champion, who won twice on his way to finishing title runner-up this year.
“About me, in the corners Marc uses the bike in a very different way and is able to enter the corners faster. Also the bike - because we are very fast, the bike is so strong, so competitive and we can accelerate a lot. But we suffer a little bit too much with the tyres go down. We lose a bit of turning and compared with the Hondas, this is the place where we have to improve.”
New Suzuki MotoGP signing Aleix Espargaro will also have a team in Moto3 next season, with his Boe41 RBA squad stepping up from the Spanish CEV series.
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