Rossi wants to win all GP classes!

The GOAT aims to take Mo­togp ti­tle and hopes his VR46 Academy stars can claim crowns in smaller classes

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - SI­MON PAT­TER­SON MO­TOGP RE­PORTER IN ITALY si­mon.pat­ter­son@mo­tor­cy­cle­

Valentino Rossi and his army of VR46 Academy pro­tégés have set them­selves the am­bi­tious tar­get of se­cur­ing vic­tory in all three classes in 2017.

In Moto3, Rossi’s Sky-backed team of An­drea Migno and Ni­colò Bulega have the po­ten­tial to fight for the ti­tle while in Moto2 his VR46 Academy rid­ers Lorenzo Bal­das­sarri and Rossi’s own brother Luca Marini will be go­ing all out for glory rid­ing for the proven For­ward Rac­ing squad.

The 2017 sea­son will also see Rossi’s own team ex­pand into Moto2, with the same Team SKY set-up he runs in Moto3 now op­er­at­ing in Moto2 with fast Ital­ians Francesco Bag­naia and Ste­fano Manzi.

There’s also the small mat­ter of the Mo­togp crown, which Rossi him­self is hop­ing he can take of. The 37-year-old Ital­ian is aiming to lead by ex­am­ple as he sets out to win his tenth world ti­tle.

MCN headed to Italy for the launch of the SKY VR46 Moto2 and Moto3 squads along with the For­ward Rac­ing team launch where we met up with Rossi’s right-hand man and VR46 Academy boss Uc­cio Salucci.

Mas­sive chal­lenge ahead

Salucci told MCN: “It’s a big year for the team and the Academy, but it’s a big year also for Vale, be­cause he can win in Mo­togp! We could even win four ti­tles this year as we have a team in CEV (the Span­ish Cham­pi­onship), but that won’t be easy. We’ll try 100% to do it though. It’s a nice tar­get, and not many peo­ple can say that they can try that, but it’s a dream for us. We have the pos­si­bil­ity to win, so why not try?

“We have two dif­fer­ent sto­ries with Team SKY. For me, Bulega and Migno are ready, and we’ll start Moto3 this year try­ing to win. In Moto2, we’ll start to learn in­stead, be­cause it’s our first year in the class.”

Rossi’s VR46 Academy is his long term and am­bi­tious plan to break the Span­ish domination of Mo­togp and its sup­port classes. It’s Rossi’s aim to de­velop a new crop of ul­tra-fast Ital­ians that can progress through the classes.

But while it’s clear that Rossi’s VR46 Academy is al­ready work­ing, Academy boss Salucci re­mains mod­est about its achieve­ments.

“It’s a good mo­ment for Italy, and for sure we’ve helped – but we’re also lucky that a lot of young Ital­ian tal­ent have ar­rived to­gether be­cause it’s not just be­cause of the VR46 Academy, there are other fast Ital­ians like Di Gian­nan­to­nio and Bas­tian­ini who aren’t a part of it.

“For sure for many of them when they were young they watched Valentino win­ning on TV – he’s an idol to them. But he’s also 200% en­gaged with the project, he works ev­ery day with the guys, and if they’re clever they should fol­low his ex­am­ple!”

‘Valentino is 200% en­gaged with the project. He works ev­ery day’ UC­CIO SALUCCI

Learn­ing from the master: Team SKYÕS Migno and Academy rider Franco Mor­bidelli

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