The se­crets of Rossi’s ranch re­vealed

The cham­pi­ons fac­tory is now in full swing. Step in­side...


Peter Pan act and the mot­ley crew of Lost Boys he’s sur­rounded him­self with in the form of an eleven­strong group of young, hun­gry and pas­sion­ate rac­ers.

“It is very im­por­tant that I have the Academy. To train ev­ery day when you’re alone is very hard, and so I started with one per­son alone ten years ago, and it was more of a chal­lenge and more fun. Now there are ten or fif­teen of us ev­ery day so you can imag­ine how much fun it is. “Some­times they make me feel old, some­times they make me feel very young. But the level of train­ing that we have to­gether is un­be­liev­ably dif­fer­ent and ev­ery time we jump on a bike the chal­lenge is so high. I can al­ways ride with pro­fes­sional rid­ers. “If I had the Ranch and didn’t have the Academy rid­ers, I could do the same fast time ev­ery lap but I’d never im­prove. Now, you start rid­ing and you’re first, then Franco goes faster and Balda beats him to set the fastest time and you think ‘f**k!’ You get to the end of the day at 7pm and you’re shat­tered. It’s great to still im­prove ev­ery day.”

And while he might be old enough to be the fa­ther of many of the young guys he now works, trains and lives with ev­ery day, that doesn’t make much of a dif­fer­ence when they get on track. Still fast and still ag­gres­sive, Mor­bidelli says that he’s not sur­prised by how fast Rossi re­mains on track.

“It’s pure pas­sion, and pas­sion lasts for a long time. He has more pas­sion for rac­ing than any­one else I know and that’ll keep him fast. But he knows how to have fun as well; that’s the first thing you learn from him. It’s im­por­tant and it helps keep him fast too.”

And while Rossi might be ap­proach­ing mid­dle age, there’s no sign of him re­tir­ing any time soon. Still in con­tract for another two sea­sons at least, there’s even been hints of late that if he’s still fast in 2020, then there’s no rea­son why that couldn’t be ex­tended.

Rossi’s first win of 2018

While it might have been a dry 2018 Mo­toGP sea­son for Rossi, he did man­age to take his first vic­tory of the year along­side fel­low Mo­toGP rider Franco Mor­bidelli in the an­nual, sea­son-end­ing 100km Dei Cam­pi­oni race at the Ranch. The two-hour long en­durance bat­tle around his track fea­tur­ing two-man teams, saw the pair win a thrilling last-minute scrap against Lorenzo Bal­das­sarri and Mat­tia Pasini. Get­ting heated at times as all four pulled some danger­ous moves, Pasini looked to have the race in the bag in the clos­ing laps un­til a small crash with only two laps to go let Rossi take the ad­van­tage... and hold it to the che­quered flag to win by only 1.514s af­ter an hour and 45 min­utes of neck-and-neck ac­tion. Rossi added: “It was a great vic­tory, be­cause we thought we had al­ready lost the race and that makes the emo­tion even bet­ter. Franco and I haven’t won a lot this year so one vic­tory has changed the sea­son. It was very close, and we al­ways have great bat­tles, but this one was like a sprint race run over 100km.”

Rossi’s ex­pand­ing em­pire

While the Academy and the Sky Race Team might be the cen­tre points of Rossi’s ever-ex­pand­ing em­pire, they are not the only thing that keeps the Ital­ian busi­ness­man and racer busy. Now em­ploy­ing over 80 staff in and around Tavul­lia, he’s got fin­gers in many pies in the small Ital­ian town. While it all started with the lo­cal pizze­ria and a mer­chan­dis­ing shop in the cen­tre of town, Rossi’s busi­ness em­pire has ex­panded to the vast VR46 com­plex. The base for not only the Academy pro­ject and the Team Sky Moto2 and Moto3 teams, it’s also the hub of Rossi’s mer­chan­dis­ing em­pire. In charge of de­sign and lo­gis­tics for his own and his rid­ers cloth­ing and ac­ces­sories, he’s also work­ing with many of his ri­vals to pro­duce their mer­chan­dise too. From Cal Crutchlow and Mav­er­ick Viñales to Jonas Fol­ger, Scott Redding and Danny Kent, it all passes through the Tavul­lia ware­house be­fore be­ing sold at races all over the world. So while the end of his ca­reer may be in sight, it seems cer­tain he will carry on be­ing heav­ily in­volved in all as­pects of Mo­toGP. There are also ru­mours that he may end up run­ning a team in Mo­toGP.

‘To train when you’re alone is very hard , so I started with one per­son’

Skills honed at the Ranch helped Bezzec­chi in Moto3

The Ranch is cen­tred on the orig­i­nal farm­house

It’s a Le Mans style start for the fi­nal race of 2018

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.