THE VIS­I­TORS

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Features -

Over the years, Rossi has used the ranch as a meet­ing point to take on some of the best of his ri­vals and his clos­est friends from the pad­dock. Peo­ple like Marc Mar­quez, An­drea Dovizioso, Bradley Smith and Sam Lowes have all been vis­i­tors.

MCN caught up with them to find out what it’s like rac­ing around the GOAT’S back gar­den… SAM LOWES Moto2 front run­ner “We got talk­ing a lit­tle bit in the pad­dock, and last year when my brother Alex was rac­ing at Imola, he in­vited me down to the Ranch be­fore­hand. I rang him on the way – just ring­ing Vale, like you do! – and by the time we got there he had WSBK qual­i­fy­ing on, for us to keep an eye on my brother and ev­ery­thing.

“It wasn’t what I was ex­pect­ing though, it’s quite unique. It’s dif­fer­ent from flat track at home, with a very dif­fer­ent sur­face. He asked what I wanted to ride and I told him any spare bike he had ly­ing around, so he took me into this room and there’s a fleet of bikes all in VR46 colours lined up – it’s so trick!” LORENZO BALDASSARRI VR46 Academy rider and VR46 Ranch lap record-holder “I love close rac­ing, and the Ranch is great for train­ing for it - but Vale is the most com­pet­i­tive of all the rid­ers at the Ranch! At the minute I am faster

‘He fo­cuses 100%... It’s like a world cham­pi­onship some­times’

than him around it though!

“I ad­mire him, be­cause he doesn’t give up and works so hard there. He fo­cuses 100% on be­ing as fast as he can be, and he works on ev­ery de­tail of it there. It’s like a world cham­pi­onship some­times.” COLIN ED­WARDS For­mer Mo­togp team-mate to Rossi and two-time World Su­per­bike cham­pion “You’ve got to be a good rider. If you’re go­ing to go there and ride a big bike you have to be good; you can’t go there, be some squid, and think you’re go­ing to roll around. My rid­ing ranch back home is for ev­ery­one, with small bikes and low speed, but at his place you’re hook­ing them – you’re haul­ing mail!

‘He pulled his pants down and showed me this huge bruise’

“I went there in mo­tocross pants and jersey, and you didn’t want to fall! I knew if I went down it would jut rip ev­ery­thing off. When we showed up he pulled his pants down and showed me this huge bruise on his right buttcheek and said ‘Now we wear full leathers!’ I could have taken that tip a week ear­lier, be­fore I packed!” CHAD REED AMA Su­per­cross legend “The day I was there, Mar­quez and a bunch of other GP guys were there too, and here he is host­ing them all but still fu­elling his fires! Marc prob­a­bly doesn’t see it, be­cause he’s still quite young, but I can tell you right now – we rode there the Tues­day after Misano, Mar­quez in the leathers he had crashed in, Vale still hung over – and they were lit­er­ally ready to die to set the fastest lap!

“If Honda and Yamaha knew the risk in­volved, and the level they were will­ing to go to just to be bet­ter than the other guys... It was fun to ex­pe­ri­ence that – and I was a lit­tle guilty of it my­self! On a bike that wasn’t mine, not hav­ing rid­den flat track in years and with Des Na­tions the fol­low­ing week; yeah, I was will­ing to throw down too!”

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