Motorcycle Racing

Valentino Rossi’s MotoGP teams aiming for victories in 2023

Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team

MotoGP legend Rossi brought his long-running VR46 team to the premier class for the first time last year after signing a three-year deal to run as a Ducati satellite squad.

The team managed a pole position with rookie Marco Bezzecchi in Thailand last year, with the Italian taking a maiden podium at the Dutch GP earlier in the season.

Both Bezzecchi and Rossi’s half-brother Luca Marini will remain with the team for 2023, with team director Uccio Salucci telling Autosport’s Spanish sister website that he hopes to reach the top step of the podium this season.

“Our first year was better than we expected,” Salucci said in Portugal. “I knew we would go fast, but I didn’t think so much.

“I was a bit worried about the lack of MotoGP experience of some of our mechanics.

“But they all did very well. Now, in the second year, it’s fair to expect more.

“I hope to fight for the podium every Sunday and get a win or two, that would be a dream. But the goals will depend on the speed you can be able to show.”

VR46 will run 2022-spec bikes for its riders this season, unlike last year when Marini had a factory bike.

Given Gresini’s Enea Bastianini (who has now moved to the factory Ducati team) won four races on a 2021-spec bike last year, Salucci expects his team can replicate this in 2023.

“We sat Luca, Valentino and I at a table and talked about it, and even he [Marini] agreed to continue working with the bike he used in 2022,” he adds.

“We understood last year that the factory Ducati is not an easy bike to manage for a private team like ours

“Pramac is a satellite team, but it’s as if it were official. They have a lot of experience and a lot of Ducati engineers.

“Here, no. We didn’t have so much experience. Luca is delighted with the 2022 Desmosedici, because the bike is going very well and has been improved in some aspects.

“I think a similar situation [to that of Gresini’s in 2022] can be replicated.

“The change from the 2021 to the 2022 Ducati was very big. Between the 2022 and the 2023, the bike changes almost nothing.”

Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Salucci also heaped praise on Bezzecchi who he says is “a pure talent”, but urged him to “find a way to manage the weekends a little better” as he “sometimes gets too nervous, too tense”.

The team boss also revealed Rossi, who is embarking on a GT World Challenge Europe campaign with WRT for a…

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