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Moto3, The guys from... 46: "Rossi's secrets? We talk about girls too!"

Migno, Morbidelli, Antonelli and Bagnaia talk about life as an Academy rider

The guys from... 46: "Rossi's secrets? We talk about girls too!"

What does it mean to be a VR46 Riders Academy rider? Browsing around the various social networks, one can see how fans and non-fans consider it a great opportunity, envied and dreamed of by many. However, there is more to it than that, because there is a lot of passion behind scenes. Who better to explain it perfectly than those directly involved - four of the eleven guys in the academy: Andrea Migno, Franco Morbidelli, Niccolò Antonelli and Francesco “Pecco” Bagnaia.

What changed has changed for you since you joined the Academy?

Andrea: “From the time I joined I have been able to take advantage of many benefits. I think that the most important thing is the fact that you are “Managed” by a group of professionals who provide all of their experience and passion so that you can grow in all areas.”

Niccolò: “I have improved in many aspects. In general I have acquired more peace of mind now that I have a structure like this behind me.” 

Pecco: “Within VR, we are taught to leave nothing to chance, beginning with physical fitness. From 2014 to the present, I have learned many things thanks to them and the fact that we are always in competition with the other riders helps us to stay focused.”

Franco: “The change for me from before to after was very gradual, since I had already been lucky enough to begin training with Vale at the age of 13-14, even before the Academy was formed. Consequently, the actual foundation of VR simply gave a name to an opportunity that I already had.”

One thing that raises a lot of curiosity is your briefings with Valentino during the days of testing at Misano. What do you talk about in those meetings?

Andrea: “Those are times when we exchange ideas in a relaxed atmosphere, rather than briefings. We talk about bikes and then other things, for example, girls.”

Niccolò: “Often we talk about our riding styles and we mostly compare notes.”

Pecco: “That's right. We initially talk about how each one of us rides and we ask Vale for opinions as he often rides behind us. And then we just BS and make fun of one another.”

Franco:In short, we can dispel the myth of briefings with Vale's secret advice.”  

What are the most important things that you have learned from Valentino?

Andrea: “I have really learned a lot of things and when you learn from a rider like Valentino, I think it is already saying a lot. Anyway, the first things that come to mind is all the advice on what strategy to use, especially in the race.”

Niccolò: “I admire Vale's incessant desire to train, which I have absorbed over time, along with a thousand other things.”

Pecco: “The great effort. During the race weekend, Valentino always stays in the garage talking to the team for many hours, even after the race. I have started doing the same thing; sometimes I stay in the garage even without doing anything, but even just watching what my mechanics do helps me in many aspects.”

Franco: “You learn constantly from a rider like Vale. The most important thing that I have learned by spending time with him is that, in order to do something to the best of your ability, it takes passion. He truly has a lot of passion for bikes and he transmits that to everyone. He also makes everything fun, and when you have fun doing something that you are passionate about, you can achieve great goals. He is the example of all this.”

What defect have you corrected the most and improved over these months thanks to the Academy?

Andrea: “I improved my approach to the race, especially my mental approach. I have also improved in qualifying. In general, I have grown a lot.”

Niccolò: “During these months they taught me not to make excuses, but to assume my responsibilities. This is a very important aspect that I am still working on.”

Pecco:After the first championship season I lost confidence, among other things. I did not feel like I was fast any more. But from the next year, thanks to the Academy, I was able to get back to my old self and now I think that I am at top mental and physical condition.”

Franco: “I think I have overcome many obstacles thanks to the Academy. The aspect where I have improved the most, however, is my riding style. Before I was very flamboyant, seeking flair more than speed. Over time, they pointed that out to me and I was able to make progress.”

Last question on current events. The Valencia weekend is right around the corner. What are your expectations for the last round of the season?

Andrea: “My goal is to finish the season well, staying fast throughout the weekend. In recent races we have been fast, but we will need to work hard.”

Niccolò: “To be honest, I'm not sure, especially thinking back over recent races which, for various reasons, did not go as we had hoped. It has been a season of ups and downs. Obviously, I hope to finish well, also so that I can go to the new team on a positive note.”

Pecco: “Valencia is a difficult track for the Mahindra and, in fact, last year we struggled here, especially with the gearbox. This year the bike has improved a lot, so I think we can do well. Also, I like the track and to achieve our goal of finishing the season in the top three we will need to give it our all, since Navarro is very close and he is riding in his home race.”

Franco: “At Valencia I need to aim for the podium, especially given the results in recent races. This is all to achieve the main goal - to finish in the top three for the championship standings, but like Pecco, it will be a battle.”

Translated by Jonathan Blosser

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