This week will see five of Yamaha's rising stars from the Asia Road Racing Championship attend Valentino Rossi's VR46 Riders Academy.
The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity features instruction and guidance from experts in the racing industry - including nine-time world champion Rossi.
The 'Yamaha VR46 The Master Camp' participants arrived in Italy on June 30th and soaked in as much information as possible when they were given a special tour of Yamaha Motor Racing Srl's headquarters in Gerno di Lesmo the next day.
On July 2nd they travelled to Cattolica where they received a medical check and were free to prepare themselves for the exciting program ahead. Over the next five days the youngsters will bring their racing skills to new heights as they follow an intensive schedule of on- and off-track training.
This is what each rider had to say just before starting the Master Camp:
Peerapong Loiboonpeng (21, Thailand): “I'm aiming to win the title this season but, from where I am in the points, it looks like it'll be difficult. However, I won't give up. I have the support of my team and I'm making steady progress. I already admired Rossi before I even started racing, but now that I actually am a racer, the way he rides and more, all become good examples for me to follow. I want to up my skills and learn to ride like Rossi so that I can someday race in MotoGP.”
Galang Hendra Pratama (17, Indonesia): “My aim this season is to constantly be on the podium and to eventually secure the title. I want to be a top contender in MotoGP in the future – that's all I think about. That's why I'm really excited to be able to meet Rossi, who has been a factory MotoGP rider for so long. I'm really looking forward to riding together with him and learning from him.”
Kasma Daniel Bin Kasmayudin (16, Malaysia): “My target for this season is to finish in the top six. My goal for the future is to become a rider capable of competing at the highest level, and race in Moto3, Moto2 and eventually MotoGP. I've been a fan of Rossi since I was little, and I even met him once when I was 14 at the Malaysian GP in Sepang. I'm so glad that I'll have the chance to ride together with him and I can't wait to get started!”
Soichiro Minamimoto (16, Japan): “My target this season is to stand on the podium, but I'm always racing with the intent to win. My goal for the future is to be a top rider in MotoGP. Rossi is an amazing rider and I really admire him, but I want to someday become good enough to beat him.”
Imanuel Putra Pratna (19, Indonesia): “The target of this season is to try and stand on as many podiums and win as many races as I can. For the future, I want to race in MotoGP. Rossi is my idol; watching him on TV is what inspired me to start racing motorcycles in the first place and he's also what motivates me to keep racing for years to come.”