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MotoGP, Uccio: "The option with Ducati is in our favour, but I'm also talking to Yamaha and KTM"

"I want to decide after the first races. I was afraid of losing Bezzecchi, I'm disappointed he doesn't have an official bike. Marini was the best choice for Honda. Di Giannantonio wasn't a plan B"

MotoGP: Uccio:

This year the VR46 team climbed onto the podium in the riders' championship with Marco Bezzecchi and did the same in the teams' championship. For a structure in its second year in MotoGP, these results are not a given and Alessio 'Uccio' Salucci is clearly proud of it. However, 2023 is now behind them and it is already time to think about the future, with the arrival of Di Giannantonio in the team and with longer-term projects.

“It was a fun season, very positive, up to three quarters of the year we were very competitive, then unfortunately a series of things happened, including injuries. If I have to take stock, I am certainly really happy with the results, but also with how we worked - says Uccio - Because we always did it with a smile, I also liked how all the guys reacted in difficult moments and we proved that we are a great group, to have more experience than we actually have in MotoGP. This gives me hope for the future too, we're not there by chance and next year will be tough."

Did you hope to win the title with Bezzecchi?

“Yes, I did: we were there, Marco was in great shape and between Pecco and Martin there was a bit of a feud, sporting I mean, so why not? Before the Indian GP we had found something in terms of setup that Bez really liked, in fact he dominated the race, I couldn't wait to go to Indonesia and all the other races because we were in our top moment. In the meetings I usually told everyone to stay focused, to live race by race, but in that moment it was a little different. I said we had to try, also to give the rider confidence. In short, we believed it, but then it went the way it went."

It remains an excellent season for Bezzecchi in his second year in MotoGP, so good that you risked having him taken away from you. Were you afraid of losing him?

“I'm honest, yes and I would have been disappointed, even if I would have been happy for him because Pramac won the team championship and would have had the official bike. However, after speaking with Marco, the fear passed, because I have known him since I was little and I saw in his eyes the desire to stay with us. So I thought about how to give him the best, both economically and technically. In my opinion he made the right choice, from the heart, and in my opinion it's more what our group can give him than what an official bike could give him."

Wasn't there a chance of having it?

“I tried in every way possible with Gigi, but he always told me it was a question of timing. I was a bit disappointed, because we deserved it, both Marco and us as a team, but we won't have it and we will do our best anyway. Bez tested the 2023 bike in Valencia and liked it a lot."

"Marini is the right rider for Honda and he will remain in the Academy"


You haven't lost Bezzecchi, but Marini has gone.

“Since the MotoGP project was born, Valentino and I have always said to each other that we are here to bring the Academy riders to the official teams. So I'm happy for Luca because we have remained consistent with our project. We pushed to keep Bezzecchi with us because it was another satellite team, but for Luca, apart from the problem that happened in November, I'm just happy. He will be in HRC, I can't help but be happy."

When did you know he was leaving?

“He told me about it personally for the first time at Phillip Island, I knew something about it before, but it was all a bit unclear. In Australia Luca and I were in the office, he told me that with a 2-year contract he would go to Honda and I was happy. In my opinion, HRC made the right choice because he is a rider who doesn’t break balls, a hard worker, very sensitive: at the moment they are in, they couldn't have made a better choice."

Will Marini remain in the Riders Academy?

“His management will not change. Luca wants to stay with the Academy."

"We didn't reach a negotiation with Aldeguer, I like Di Giannantonio"

Il nuovo ingresso è quello di Di Giannantonio: il primo pilota non dell’Academy per voi in MotoGP. Rappresenta uno spartiacque nella storia del team?
Sapevamo da quanto abbiamo iniziato che sarebbe arrivato questo giorno. Sono molto contento per Diggia, mi è piaciuto molto il suo atteggiamento, sia quando gli avevo parlato e sia nel test di Valencia. È arrivato in punta di piedi, il team ha avuto una bellissima impressione e poi è andato fortissimo. Per me è una sfida nuova e mi piace, è la prima volta che lavoro che un pilota che non fa parte dell’Academy".

The new entry is that of Di Giannantonio: the first non-Academy rider for you in MotoGP. Does he represent a watershed in the history of the team?

“We knew from when we started that this day would come. I'm very happy for Diggia, I really liked his attitude, both when I spoke to him and in the Valencia test. He arrived on tiptoe, the team had a great impression and then went very fast. For me it's a new challenge and I like it, it's the first time I've worked with a rider who isn't part of the Academy."

What convinced you about Di Giannantonio? There was also a lot of talk about Aldeguer…

“In general, I preferred to take a rookie, because we were born for this and I liked Fermin a lot. I tried, but Boscoscuro naturally didn't want it and that was that. There was never a real negotiation, we never talked about penalties to pay or anything else, we didn't even get to that point. Diggia, however, was not a plan B. He was going very well at that moment, I had spoken to him a couple of times and I saw him with a devastating desire to come to us. Among other things, another door was opening for him in MotoGP in those days, so he wouldn’t have been without a ride."

"With Ducati we have a 2-year option in our favour"


So far we have talked about riders, but your contract with Ducati expires next year...

“The most important thing is that we have a 2-year option in our favour, so if, absurdly, we decided tomorrow we would also be in 2025 and 2026 with Ducati. I've spoken to everyone, I'm not ashamed to say it, with Ducati, with KTM, with Yamaha, now it's a bit early to understand what we'll do, even if I'm of the opinion not to take this decision too far. It's an important discussion that affects the year itself and I'd like to understand what we want to do after the first races, in order to give an answer."

What is your priority? In Ducati you are not the benchmark satellite team, but in Yamaha you could become one.

“Perhaps in Yamaha and KTM we would be more part of the project than we are now in Ducati, but I get along very well with both Gigi and Claudio. From the outside, we and Gresini are second to Pramac, but everything I asked for was given to me, I know my limits but sometimes I have had even more. In recent days I have spoken with Dall'Igna, we want to continue to improve together, but I don't want to say false things, you never know what will happen and at the moment I am negotiating with everyone."


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