SportMotoGPVR46 Academy pups start to show their fangs

VR46 Academy pups start to show their fangs

The great goal of Valentino Rossi’s ambitious academy project culminated one of its most important steps with the announcement of the creation of the new Mooney VR46 Racing Team , which debuted this season in the championship as a private team with Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi in its lineup of riders and associated with Ducati as a satellite.

After a more or less difficult start to the season but with some sparks that led us to think that things were going the right way, the Italian Grand Prix held this past weekend saw the best performance, so far, of the Valentino project , managing to place both riders on the front row of the starting grid after qualifying on Saturday, and completing a race in which both Marini, and especially Bezzecchi, emerged as protagonists for many laps, with the debutant rider from Rimini riding the first nine laps in the lead, and remaining in the podium zone until lap 17, just six from the end.

Bezzecchi’s performance is not the result of chance, the Italian is 17th overall in the championship with 30 points, one less than Marini, and leads the rookie table despite suffering crashes in the first two races of the course, and a more at the Grand Prix of the Americas. But of the five races he has finished, three have done so in the top 10, and this last one reached a meritorious fifth place that, for sure, was not enough for him since he was fighting for third place until the end, when he was overtaken by Johann Zarco for fourth place.

“It was a good day and I was surprised by my race. I didn’t expect to do so well, but when I found myself leading I told myself I had to try. It hasn’t gone bad at all: I managed to get a few laps in the lead and stay a bit with the good guys,” said Bezzecchi, who kept up the fight with reigning championship heavyweights Pecco Bagnaia, Fabio Quartararo and Aleix Espargaro.

“At the end I was even recovering with Aleix, but I got a bit hung up on the front tire so my front wheel locked up a bit in Arrabbiata 1. I dropped a gear, and Zarco, who was very close, took advantage of it and It happened to me. Anyway, it’s fine”, he explained somewhat frustrated at losing fourth place because of a mistake.

Bezzecchi, 23, was overtaken after the ninth lap by Bagnaia, riding the official Ducati, but who he did not expect fighting so high up was the championship leader.

“Watching the practice sessions over the weekend, Pecco, Aleix and Enea Bastianini seemed to me to be the most dangerous rivals. Quartararo didn’t seem that fast to me, but he really was. It happened to me despite the fact that I was faster on the straight, because He’s very fast in the corners so congratulations to him, anyway it was great to be up there with the good guys.”

During the first few laps, Bezzecchi, who started second on the grid just ahead of his teammate, had an intense duel with Marini.

“We made two or three overtaking, but honestly I thought I had something more, so I wanted to try to stay ahead and stay with Quartararo”, the best possible hare to try to tackle a podium that, in the end, resisted.

“I think it was a goal that was close, even in the last laps I wanted to try it with Aleix and if he had managed to attack, he would have done it. Let’s say that when the bike gave me that warning in Arrabiata, I preferred not to compromise the race”.

A podium that he hopes to achieve before the end of the year, as Bastianini and Jorge Martín did last year, both debutants with Ducati.

“Before the end of the year I would like to be able to do a podium, I think that if we continue working as we have done up to now it is something that can be achieved. Obviously, each track is different, so I don’t know what to expect in Barcelona. It has some similar characteristics, but the grip is different, so we’ll see. But it’s a goal that I have very clear.”

Generational change underway

Just behind Bezzecchi, just eight tenths away, his teammate Marini finished, who started third on the grid and in the first few laps he was fighting for the top positions in what was his best race of the season.

“I’m satisfied with the weekend, because I feel like we’re making progress. As I said, I didn’t feel in the rhythm to fight for the podium, but I wanted to be prepared to take advantage of the opportunity in case someone made a small mistake,” he summed up the 24 year old runner.

“In the last two races, after the Jerez test, my sensations with the bike have improved a lot, I feel better, and the most important thing is this. Now we look at Barcelona, because it would be important to confirm my speed on another track and be able to continue fighting for these positions in all the races,” he added ambitiously.

Marini, brother of Valentino Rossi and spearhead of the Academy team, considers that the steps of the generational change for which the VR46 was created are being taken.

“Without a doubt, more for Pecco, who got the victory, but Bez (Bezzecchi) and I are going strong too. Everyone has their own path and right now Pecco is ready to fight for victory in every race, but I lack a little to get to fight for the podium in each race. You have to take the right steps to get there, because in the end it is an attainable goal for everyone, because the level of the riders in MotoGP is very high. Everyone has what you have to have to get to the podium”, settled the man from Urbino.

Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team, achieved third and second place on the starting grid at Mugello

Luca Marini y Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team, lograron el tercer y segundo puesto de la parrilla de salida en Mugello

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Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team

Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team

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Photo de: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing team

Marco Bezzecchi, equipo VR46 Racing

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Photo de: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Luca Marini, VR46 Racing team

Luca Marini, equipo VR46 Racing

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Photo de: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing team

Marco Bezzecchi, equipo VR46 Racing

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Photo de: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing team

Marco Bezzecchi, equipo VR46 Racing

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Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing team

Marco Bezzecchi, equipo VR46 Racing

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Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing team

Marco Bezzecchi, equipo VR46 Racing

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Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing team

Marco Bezzecchi, equipo VR46 Racing

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Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing team

Marco Bezzecchi, equipo VR46 Racing

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Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing team

Marco Bezzecchi, equipo VR46 Racing

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Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing team

Marco Bezzecchi, equipo VR46 Racing

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Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing team

Marco Bezzecchi, equipo VR46 Racing

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Luca Marini, VR46 Racing team

Luca Marini, equipo VR46 Racing

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Luca Marini, VR46 Racing team

Luca Marini, equipo VR46 Racing

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Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing team

Marco Bezzecchi, equipo VR46 Racing

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Luca Marini, VR46 Racing team

Luca Marini, equipo VR46 Racing

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Luca Marini, VR46 Racing team

Luca Marini, equipo VR46 Racing

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Luca Marini, VR46 Racing team

Luca Marini, equipo VR46 Racing

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Luca Marini, VR46 Racing team

Luca Marini, equipo VR46 Racing

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Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing team

Marco Bezzecchi, equipo VR46 Racing

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Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing team

Marco Bezzecchi, equipo VR46 Racing

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Luca Marini, VR46 Racing team

Luca Marini, equipo VR46 Racing

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Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing team

Marco Bezzecchi, equipo VR46 Racing

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Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing team

Marco Bezzecchi, equipo VR46 Racing

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Luca Marini, VR46 Racing team

Luca Marini, equipo VR46 Racing

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Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing team

Marco Bezzecchi, equipo VR46 Racing

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Luca Marini, VR46 Racing Team, Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team

Luca Marini, VR46 Racing Team, Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team

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Luca Marini, VR46 Racing team

Luca Marini, equipo VR46 Racing

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Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing team

Marco Bezzecchi, equipo VR46 Racing

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Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing team

Marco Bezzecchi, equipo VR46 Racing

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Top3 classification: pole winner Fabio Di Giannantonio, Gresini Racing, second place Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team, third place Luca Marini, VR46 Racing Team

Top3 clasificación: ganador del a pole Fabio Di Giannantonio, Gresini Racing, el segundo lugar Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team, el tercer lugar Luca Marini, VR46 Racing Team

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Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing team

Marco Bezzecchi, equipo VR46 Racing

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Luca Marini, VR46 Racing Team

Luca Marini, VR46 Racing Team

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Luca Marini, VR46 Racing Team

Luca Marini, VR46 Racing Team

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Luca Marini, VR46 Racing Team

Luca Marini, VR46 Racing Team

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Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team

Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team

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Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team

Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team

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Luca Marini, VR46 Racing team

Luca Marini, equipo VR46 Racing

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Luca Marini, VR46 Racing team

Luca Marini, equipo VR46 Racing

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Luca Marini, VR46 Racing team

Luca Marini, equipo VR46 Racing

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Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing team

Marco Bezzecchi, equipo VR46 Racing

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Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing, Equipo Luca Marini, VR46 Racing Team

Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing, Equipo Luca Marini, VR46 Racing Team

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Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing team

Marco Bezzecchi, equipo VR46 Racing

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Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing team

Marco Bezzecchi, equipo VR46 Racing

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Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing team

Marco Bezzecchi, equipo VR46 Racing

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Luca Marini, VR46 Racing Team

Luca Marini, VR46 Racing Team

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Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team

Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team

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Photo de: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Luca Marini, VR46 Racing Team

Luca Marini, VR46 Racing Team

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Foto de: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

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