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!”