Nicolò Bulega and the VR46 Academy will be taking different roads at the end of 2019. The rider is currently engaged in the Moto2 on the Sky Racing Team, alongside Luca Marini, but he's ready to start a completely different journey. Six years have passed since Bulega entered the Academy, experiencing seasons as a star player, but also with some lackluster moments during his still rather new career in the world championship.
Nicolò arrived in the world championship after winning the 2015 Moto3 title in the CEV, competing in a great debut season on the Sky Racing Team's KTM. Closing with a 7th place in the 2016 rankings with two podiums and reaching several top fives, Bulega was considered by many to be a real rising star on the Italian motorcycling scene. But, during the two seasons that followed, he almost never succeeded in confirming the potential he expressed with his debut.
Due to his physical brawn, which was decidedly unsuitable for the Moto3, Nicolò made his debut in the Moto2 in 2019, often proving to be very fast but also not very constant in a category that is really tough on rookies, reaching a 9th place so far in Jerez as his best result of the season. The first half of his season was also partly affected by a compartment syndrome that was resolved with surgery in April.
There had been rumors in the paddock for several months about a possible separation between the two in the future. An official statement was made today, signed by Nicolò and his parents, Nathalie and Davide, who will be managing their son's career.
Nicolò was moved when saying good-bye to his fellow riders at the Academy, with the lightness and sincerity of someone who knows to have experienced a very special moment in his career, and probably in his life, and who is now waiting to face new challenges.
"The VR46 was like a second family to me," said Bulega. "For the past six years, I spent most of the hours of every day with Vale, Uccio, Albi, Barbara, and my friends and fellow riders of the Academy. I learned a lot from them, and I feel privileged to have been part of this group and to be able to proudly say that I was a rider for my utmost idol, Valentino Rossi.
But after so many seasons with the same team and with the same people, it's time for me to try and stand on my own two feet and start new professional experiences to complete myself as a sportsman and as a man. Mine won't be an easy challenge, but let's just say that this will also serve as a stimulus.
I want to first thank Valentino Rossi, who believed in me, and was, and I hope will still be, like an older brother, a friend, and a great example. I thank Uccio, a friend I've always admired and with whom I've always had an excellent relationship and friendship. But the list of people to thank is endless, from Albi, to my friend and teammate, Luca Marini, to all those who work in the VR46 and who have been part of my great dream of racing in the world championship. I'd also like to thank Sky for having always believed in me."