The Ranch is the beating heart of Valentino Rossi's Riders Academy, a unique place in the world where riders can test themselves against each other. Franco Morbidelli has been talking about his life 'sideways' in a video for Dainese, which you can see above.
“Flat track is important because you get used to the rear tyre spinning and to the bike going sideways, and you are less scared when this happens to you in real racing on real tracks – explained Morbidelli – Training together with the other guys of the Academy is super nice because it's a challenge, it's always a challenge. The level in our training is very high and we are always pushing each other. It's a thing that makes you improve a lot, work better and also makes you work with a better attitude because you're between friends, and you're just basically having fun with friends while you're training. Whatever you do here you cannot do on any track in the world.”
Who is the benchmark at the Ranch?
“I would say that the fastest are Vale for sure, he is one of the main guys here beside the fact that he is the boss and Luca as well, but also the other guys. We're all very fast, but the main guys are Vale and Luca.”
Riding in flat track is very particular and Franky explained it with a simile.
“I move a lot with my hips and follow the bike so to do something good together, here it is a continuous movement so it might look like a dance.”
Training at the Ranch is also important from a mental point of view.
“I don't feel the fear too much here at the Ranch, while at real racing sometimes I have fear because there are unknown situations or unknown things that can happen.You try to go beyond the fear preparing yourself at best and try to control everything you can control, in this way the fear doesn't go away but for sure you reduce by a lot the risk.”
Risks that are always present when you train on a motorcycle, but in the case of flat track they are less than in motocross
“It is nice to sometimes change discipline and do something else because it keeps you awake and it keeps you sharp, but it’s important as well to not forget you are a MotoGP rider. I really like motocross but I'm not great at it. I just try not to risk too much, I usually don't over-push with MX while here is a place where I can really push a lot.”