The Yamaha VR46 Master Camp came to an end with some minibike racing followed by a graduation ceremony at the VR46 headquarters in Tavullia.
Students Peerapong Loiboonpeng (21, Thailand), Galang Hendra Pratama (17, Indonesia), Soichiro Minamimoto (16, Japan), Kasma Daniel Bin Kasmayudin (16, Malaysia) and Imanuel Putra Pratna (19, Indonesia) started the day with mixed feelings; excited to get a chance to learn from VR46 Riders Academy member and Moto3 grand prix winner Francesco Bagnaia at the Jeepers Kart & Pit Bike circuit on minibikes, but aware that today would also be the last day of their fantastic experience.
Once they arrived at the track they quickly changed into their leathers and hopped on their minibikes. The first session was a timed practice session, which was followed by qualifying and two races amongst just the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp.
The first minibike race, which saw a close battle for the lead, was ultimately won by Galang Hendra Pratama. In the second race Kasma Daniel Bin Kasmayudin raised the pace to another level and rode confidently to his first Master Camp victory.
After lunch at the VR46's headquarters the riders were given a tour around the building by VR46 Managing Director Gianluca Falcioni. The tour ended in Valentino Rossi's spacious office upstairs, where the riders got to view a summary video of the last five special days on the flat screen television. Yamaha Motor Racing's Managing Director Lin Jarvis remarked how the Master Camp came full circle: the project was created on the conference table in that office.
It was then time for the 'graduation' ceremony, where the five riders were handed their official Yamaha VR46 Master Camp certificate of accomplishment and some extra gifts from VR46, which included the newly released MotoGP game in which players can simulate Valentino Rossi's racing career.
Franco Morbidelli also quickly dropped in to congratulate the graduates and Bagnaia brought extra farewell gifts.
“I'm really happy with how the first Yamaha VR46 Master Camp went,” Rossi said. “The guys were really excited today. Understandably they are tired because of the intense training, but they are happy.
“They had fun during these five days but above all I hope they will bring home some things they learned from the VR46 Riders Academy, not only the knowledge and skills but also the mentality.
“The Master Camp riders were very good and also very quick to learn so much in just a few days. It was a great experience also for the Academy riders and all those who were involved in the organisation, the Master Camp has been a success.”
The Yamaha VR46 Master Camp is a non-profit programme put together by Yamaha and its partners together with the VR46 Riders Academy.
The rider selection of the first edition of the Master Camp was done by the Asian Yamaha distributors. The line-up was based on the riders' talent and promise in the racing industry.
In the future Yamaha aims to do similar programme with other Yamaha distributors in other parts of the world.
Peerapong Loiboonpeng: “I am delighted to have had this opportunity. I never thought I would get here and meet Valentino Rossi. When I knew I was coming here, I did my best to be ready for this event and over the last five days I tried to memorise everything they taught me. I want to thank Yamaha, without their support I would never have come this far. I also want to say thank you to the VR46 Academy riders, they have welcomed us with open arms and taught us well.”
Galang Hendra Pratama: “This week was beautiful. Today we trained again with minibikes and it was a lot of fun. I'm honoured to have been given this opportunity. I was able to train with world-class riders, such as Valentino Rossi, the VR46 Academy riders and also our flat track trainer Marco Belli. I hope that these experiences can be repeated. I want to thank Yamaha for making it possible for us to have such a wonderful experience that we will be remembered forever.”
Kasma Daniel Bin Kasmayudin: “I am very happy after this experience, I liked every item on the programme a lot. Being here was really nice. Today we have trained with minibikes and then we said goodbye to the VR46 team at Valentino Rossi's headquarters. I gave the maximum over the last five days to learn as much as possible and will always cherish these unforgettable moments. A big thank you to Yamaha, our instructors and the entire VR46 staff for organising such an amazing programme.”
Soichiro Minamimoto: “Today was a beautiful day again. After these five days I realise more than ever how high the level of motorcycle racing on a world championship level is, because I was able to ride with the riders of VR46 Academy. It was a great experience and I want to thank Yamaha and VR46 for their time to teach us so many skills.”
Imanuel Putra Pratna: “The activities over the last five days have made me very proud. I'm happy that I had the opportunity to have such a wonderful experience. I'm sad that the programme is finished, but I am so grateful to have lived this. I want to thank Yamaha, Valentino Rossi, the VR46 team, Marco Belli, our trainers at the Fisio Gym and the VR46 Academy riders for all the support they gave us, I have learned a great deal and I'll never forget it!”