People today normally say that Valentino Rossi’s lifetime unfolds like a Hollywood film: from just one not likely scene to a further, lots of romance and a plot twist around each corner.
And now the next scene is unfolding prior to our pretty eyes: Rossi has retired from MotoGP but the staff he produced is now profitable races, generating headlines and dominating the paddock’s consciousness.
Marco Bezzecchi gained the rain-soaked Argentine MotoGP race before this thirty day period, Rossi’s 50 percent-brother Luca Marini finished a close 2nd in Sunday’s Grand Prix of the Americas and Bezzecchi qualified prospects the earth championship, on a next-hand Ducati Desmosedici, in advance of an additional VR46 Academy rider, Pecco Bagnaia.
Only a fever-brained Hollywood scriptwriter would take into account such a storyline – and then he’d bin it, sure that no 1 would feel it…
That is constantly been the point with Rossi: points fall into place, evidently driven by a kind of purely natural strength, but of system which is not how factors get the job done in the real world.
Rossi’s results comes from a appreciate of what he does and an obsession about having every thing 100% ideal, from making use of the stickers to his possess race bikes to setting up the best unbiased team in the paddock, with all the multitude of complexities that consists of.
And there’s no a person much better to discuss to about this than Uccio Salucci, childhood mate, right-hand guy through Rossi’s grand prix occupation and now workforce director of the Mooney VR46 MotoGP team.
Oxley: The accomplishment you are possessing with the VR46 staff looks like a further chapter of the Rossi story because when we feel the tale is coming to an stop there’s generally another chapter…
Salucci: Of course, we are like Highlander! (A science-fantasy action Tv set collection that ran from 1992 to 1998, which Salucci and Rossi watched from their couches in Tavullia)
I am really happy about this, since when Vale (Valentino Rossi) stopped racing in MotoGP in 2021 we needed to carry on with his jobs. Vale is below with two jobs – one particular is the academy, the other is the crew. Each are in a good instant since we have a great deal of enthusiasm.
I set all my passion into the team and Carlo Casabianca place his into the academy. When I perform on this project I constantly have the confront of Vale hunting more than my shoulder, declaring, “Please, Uccio, try out 100%!”. This is a large commitment for me.
For confident, Valentino is the legend of this activity, so the academy and the workforce will need to be at the exact same amount as Valentino. To be at that stage is not easy, but we check out in a great way.
The weekend in Argentina was like a dream for us. When I referred to as Vale just after the race he was quite pleased, quite psychological, due to the fact it was quite large for him. When I obtained back again to Italy I went to meal with him and his face was like when he received a race! This was the very first time I’d viewed his facial area like this considering that he previous gained a race [in 2019]! He was like, “Uccio, f**k, we won in MotoGP, with our crew!”. It experienced been numerous, many many years since I’d viewed his facial area like this, so for me this was bellissimo, simply because Vale and I are like brothers.
When Rossi stopped racing bikes at the finish of 2021 your everyday living transformed vastly, simply because you experienced been by his aspect considering that the 1990s…
It was not effortless. My everyday living improved a ton due to the fact I experienced put in quite a few decades with Vale. Now we are in an additional problem. I’m not with him at all the races, now I handle the workforce with the other fellas collectively, even though Max [Montanari] proceeds with Vale in motor vehicle racing. Past 12 months in particular was not straightforward for me, but I ongoing at 100%, for him, and now this is the result. But we need to continue to be pretty, pretty calm and concentrated.
Rossi comes to pretty handful of MotoGP races, so what is his involvement?
When him and I are in Italy we have two conferences a 7 days at the VR46 offices. He wants to know everything: what is took place in the workforce, what happened at the last race, about the funds, who works in this article and why, why I want to modify some thing, everything!
If I say, please, I want to change a little something – I want to go a person person from below to there – he states, why? Then I will need to describe to him. He has greatest involvement. Each individual day I mail him two WhatsApp voice messages, telling him what happened now: this, that and the other. Just after two several hours he answers and states, “Ah, ok, for this 1, it’s possible you can make that modify. But what do you believe about this one particular, blah, blah, blah?”.
I have the last word, but he wishes to know everything, so perhaps he states, “Okay, Uccio, if you want to make a decision like this, then it is all right, mainly because you are there, but be sure to pay back consideration!”.
When Rossi started off his 1st Moto3 workforce in 2014 I believed this ought to be the commencing of the end, due to the fact no way can you race 100% and handle a team on the facet, but in retrospect his capability to compartmentalise is all the things.
Specifically – Valentino is pretty intelligent. He has the intelligence to take care of the predicament, also with the academy. He does two conferences with me, then two about the academy with Carlo Casabianca. Valentino manages all the cases, which is incredibly essential for us, particularly for me. Last calendar year I worked with the group and the academy, but we are expanding up and now that the degree is so large I want to be concentrated on the crew and Carlo on the academy.
Did you keep in Termas on the Sunday evening to celebrate Bez’s win or did you have to fly dwelling?
F**k, we experienced to fly, so we had the social gathering with the workforce and the academy the up coming Friday in a cafe in Pesaro, close to Tavullia. We had a really excellent occasion, with Marini, Bezzecchi, Bagnaia, every person, a whole lot of pleasurable. But prior to that we went education with minibikes and there was Pecco and Bez in their leathers, initially and next in the MotoGP championship. I believed, ‘f**k, it is unbelievable’. It was a extremely strange feeling. Unusual but great.
Your crew appears to be a bit much more rock and roll than the others…
Indeed, our workforce is a tiny bit distinctive – we have a quite excellent environment. We however have the exact same mechanics from Moto3, from Moto2 and now MotoGP. It is a massive, big move, but our fellas are incredibly great. It’s a superior group, much more or considerably less the identical since 2014, so I do not want to transform it. We constantly have the exact men and women – this is really vital.
I spoke a good deal with Dall’Igna [Gigi, Ducati race boss] at the conclusion of 2021 due to the fact he was pushing us to just take far more Ducati mechanics, but I claimed, “Please, no, Gigi, since I want to carry on with our job, with our staff”. He stated, “Okay, but the Ducati is not a Japanese bicycle, it’s not simple”. But we want to carry on like this and now our mechanics are quite, very good, and we are continuing with the bikes we applied final yr [Bezzecchi and Marini both have GP22s now] so it is wonderful.
We have three Ducati engineers within our box, the same as the other teams. For guaranteed future year we will still have Ducatis. I don’t know, but if we modify bikes for 2025, Ducati will get their engineers and some engineers will get there from another manufacturing facility. My strategy is that our crew stays our staff. If we alter bikes we will just alter the engineers and I hope to continue to keep our personal mechanics.
How do Marco and Luca examine?
They are really various – Luca is a scientist, Bez is a lot more aged university.
I try to remember seeing Bez in his to start with Phillip Island MotoGP weekend very last 12 months – he was swiftest following 15 minutes of FP1 – remarkable!
Absolutely! Their technique is extremely unique. It is great for the workforce for the reason that we can enhance and grow up jointly. Luca is very calm – he arrives at the prime level, ticking all the containers – tick, tick, tick – so when he arrives he is aware why he’s there and he stays there. Bez is far more of a natural talent, far more like Valentino than Luca.
Very last winter I asked Bez to improve in this space, to remain additional in the garage, to stay additional with his engineers and the details, and to attempt to crash fewer, because his talent is great but which is not adequate in MotoGP. I also asked Marini to be a minimal more like Marco. Marini asked me, “Why?!” I said since you will need to just take the fantastic parts of Marco. Now some elements of Bez are like Luca and some parts of Luca are like Bez. Equally have improved.
How does the workforce operate as a complete?
We work a good deal together. We have meetings on Thursday afternoons, with the two riders and all their engineers. I don’t assume other teams do this. We didn’t do this last year simply because Bez had a GP21 and Luca had a GP22. I bear in mind when I was at Petronas with Vale it wasn’t like this – Vale went just one way and Franky [Morbidelli] the other. Now in MotoGP you should not make war with the other rider in your box, so now it is far better like this.
What transpires if you beat the Ducati factory group to the title?
Sincerely, it is very complicated! I discuss to Dall’Igna – he’s extremely joyful about our function and he constantly claims that for him the vital thing is that a Ducati wins – he doesn’t treatment if the bicycle is purple or black or what ever. We have a good relationship.