Valentino Rossi has confirmed three riders will depart his VR46 Academy junior programme at the end of the 2019 season, prompting a search for ‘new faces’ he admits will be tricky.

With Nicolo Bulega already confirming his exit from the scheme earlier in the week, Rossi revealed Lorenzo Baldassari and Dennis Foggia will also part ways with the programme at the conclusion of 2019.

Baldassari and Bulega – who race for the Flexbox HP40 and Sky Racing Team VR46 Moto2 teams respectively – have endured indifferent fortunes in 2019.

The former scored three wins from four races at the start of what is now his sixth season in the intermediate class, while Bulega is currently 17th and third highest-placed rookie. Foggia is 15th in the Moto3 class.

Rossi says he will now turn his attention to scouting out Italian talent to join the programme in 2020.

“Every year we change something and if we speak about the riders (Bulega, Baldassari and Foggia), everybody has a different story,” he said.

“For next year we will be not together, so we search for new faces, new Italian riders, which is not easy but we will see. Somebody will arrive next year.”

Seven-time GP champion Rossi launched the development scheme as a means of promoting and supporting young Italian riders through the GP ranks at a time when Spain’s well-established CEV series’ largely dominated the influx of quality beginners.

Franco Morbidelli and Pecco Bagnaia – Moto2 champions in 2017 and 2018 respectively - have been the two most notable successes from the Academy, currently competing in MotoGP with Petronas SRT Yamaha and Pramac Ducati.

 

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