Team-mates giving each other a tow has become a regular sight at the end of Moto2 and Moto3 qualifying.

But in the case of Sky VR46, such formation riding is used for much more than the occasional slipstream to try and start higher on the grid.

New VR46 Moto2 signing Marco Bezzecchi revealed that he has been taking to the track alongside Luca Marini since winter testing and that it's long been a key part of the team's strategy.

"Since the winter tests at Jerez, I discovered this method that [the team] were already using with Pecco Bagnaia and Luca Marini with great results," Bezzecchi said.

"In the very first tests I focused on learning the new bike, but soon, even if my speed was not enough, we started to practice together with my team-mate and this helped both of us to ride faster lap after lap.

“It’s really cool because you can easily realise your strengths and weakness, see where you are doing better, and where your team-mate is stronger.

"The goal of the team is to be competitive with both bikes. There is not a number one and a number two rider, we are there to get the best possible results”.

But how does it work?

“It’s the result of a shared strategy between Pablo [Nieto], the team coordinator, the two chief mechanics and the riders," the former Moto3 title contender told the Monster Energy website.

"If there are no major tests to do, we go out together in the practices to try to push each other and improve the performance. According to the lap times, Luca can lead first, and I follow, or vice versa. It’s an extraordinary boost.

"When I’m leading, knowing that my team-mate is behind, I give my best to escape. And when it’s my turn to chase Luca, I push like hell to catch him. In the qualifying, this is even vital, and the goal is to qualify both machines in the front rows.

"The plan changes according to the track characteristics, but the method is basically the same. The one who is stronger, goes out and leads, and then – after some laps – we exchange positions”.

Bezzecchi and Marquez finished Friday practice at the Qatar season-opener second and third on the timesheets. Marini then went on to qualify second and Bezzecchi seventh.

“In qualifying we used only one tyre due to the conditions of the track. I went out first in qualifying because I had a stronger pace in the first laps, and Luca was able to make his best lap time on the third lap. Then we exchanged and at the last lap I could improve my lap time, and finished seventh," Bezzecchi said.

“In the race we had a good start. Luca was leading, while I was seventh, when the front tyre suddenly dropped around lap 7 or 8. We started to struggle and lose positions. I finally finished twelfth.

"It’s strange because only me, Luca, and Jorge Martin suffered from this issue with the front tyre.

"We will analyse the data to understand what happened. It was a pity because we couldn’t capitalise on the good results in the practices, but all in all, I’m satisfied.

"In Qatar I learned to stay with the frontrunners especially in the first laps, while I need to improve in the second part of the race."

Struggling badly in the closing laps, Marini eventually fell after contact at the final corner with Jake Dixon.

Meanwhile, in the MotoGP class, factory Ducati riders Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci have been completing race simulations together in testing for the past two winters, allowing them to better replicate real racing conditions in areas such as tyre temperature when closely following another rider.

 

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