Yamaha Motor Europe N.V.‘s already experienced WorldSSP300 students made a flying start to the seventh edition of the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp. The five trainees started Day 1 of the five-day programme with a training session at the Fisio Gym, followed by their first flat track riding Master Class at the VR46 Moto Ranch with expert Marco Belli.
The seventh edition Yamaha VR46 Master Camp has officially commenced, with the five bLU cRU project participants learning how to use a race simulator from VR46 Riders Academy‘s Franco Morbidelli and Andrea Migno, and showcasing their off-road talents to three-time English Flat Track Champion and two-time American and European Flat Track Champion Marco Belli.
The Netherlands‘ Finn de Bruin (18), Italy‘s Kevin Sabatucci (20) and Jacopo Facco (19), France‘s Andy Verdoïa (16), and Spain‘s Beatriz Neila (17), were buzzing to start their training activities in Tavullia. Their first assignment was to complete a warm-up at the Fisio Gym, to loosen the muscles before putting in hot laps around the Misano World Circuit on the race simulator in full riding gear apart from the helmet, as demonstrated by MotoGP rider Morbidelli and Moto3 GP winner Migno.
Having worked up an appetite, the group then travelled to Bar, Ristorante e Pizzeria Da Rossi in Tavullia, where they also took the opportunity to sign up as a member at the Official Fan Club Valentino Rossi Tavullia and to go shopping at the VR46 Store.
Then it was time to really get down to business at the VR46 Motor Ranch. Flat track expert Belli was waiting for them there with five shiny YZ250F bikes and a detailed plan to get the flat track race-ready by the end of the week. After a short briefing on the correct riding position it was time for the riders put the theory into practice.
Joined on track by a VIP guest, Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s factory eRider Lorenzo Daretti, the students focused mainly on bike and throttle control, and body positioning. Impressed with the progress made so far, Belli commented:
“I think I can speak for us all and say that we enjoyed the first day at the VR46 Motor Ranch. For some of the riders this was a totally new experience, but that‘s why we always dedicate the first session here to letting the riders get used to the bikes and give them an understanding of how to ride on this surface. The ranch is actually a bit tricky, because it‘s very slippery here, the riding sensation is different from what these guys are used to.
“I always enjoy working with young, professional riders, because what you teach them, they put into practice and you can see their progress over the course of the day. So far, we focused our work on the body position and throttle control, to ’manage‘ the sliding and to have a good interaction with the bike. It‘s a very positive starting point for the next few days, and we can now go ahead with Day 2‘s schedule, which is a bit more intensive and challenging.”
After the full-on first day of training, the new protégés relaxed in the evening by playing the MotoGP™18 game by Milestone with reigning double MotoGP eSport World Champion Daretti, who showed off his skills at the Misano track, proving to be unbeatable.
“It was great to be a part of the start of the 7th Yamaha VR46 Master Camp. It may even have been one of the best days of my life!”, shared the Yamaha Factory eRider, who is also a passionate motorcyclist.
“It was my first time riding on flat track, just like the Master Camp students. The VR46 Motor Ranch can only be described as ’amazing‘ and ’enormous‘. The riding at the start was very difficult though, it‘s something that takes getting used to, because it‘s very different from riding road bikes, which I‘m more used to. But I‘m sure we‘ll all see improvements over the next few days.
“From what I‘ve seen so far, this programme is fantastic. The WorldSSP300 riders are all great. At the end of the first day I bonded with them playing a video game and, as I‘ve already expected after seeing them on track, they're very skilled. I have to say that I‘m also very impressed with the teachers at the Master Camp. On top of that, the atmosphere here is amazing, so it‘s all a lot of fun. I‘m very excited that I get to spend a bit more time here after this great first day, I‘m very happy.”
“The first day was very intense, with lots of emotions. We started off by training with Franco and Andrea on the race simulator, which is an amazing opportunity for us! To make things even better I also ran into Valentino training there, just like we were. It all felt like a dream. In the afternoon we got to explore Tavullia and all it has to offer: the Ristorante e Pizzeria Da Rossi, the fan club, and the VR46 Store. At the end of the day we had our first riding session, which I was very excited about. It‘s not easy to ride on the flat track, and I had a couple of slides and crashes here and there, but it was overall a very valuable experience.”
“Day 1 was really good. We went to the Fisio Gym first and I‘ve learned a lot from Franco and Andrea. At midday we arrived at the Ristorante e Pizzeria Da Rossi. It‘s really nice place, very beautiful. We also visited the fan club and to become a member is a dream come true! Later in the afternoon we spent time at the VR46 Motor Ranch. Flat track is new to me, but it‘s actually really nice! You can slide and drift, it‘s a lot of fun! I‘ve learned a lot from this first flat track session, and I think it‘s a positive skill to have in preparation for the remainder of the WorldSSP300 season. I hope to learn more during this week, so thanks to Yamaha and VR46, because this is a great opportunity and I can‘t wait to enjoy more of it!”
“Day 1 was amazing! In the morning we went to the gym with Morbidelli and Migno – they are fantastic and funny – and together with them we tried the race simulator. It was very hard but at the same moment I felt very happy, because I enjoyed it. But the best moment of this day was when I entered the VR46 Motor Ranch. Arriving to the ranch, riding down those hills, was like a dream to me! Riding on the flat track was actually quite difficult, but thanks to Marco Belli it was getting more and more easy as we learned to choose the lines and got to know all his riding secrets. On Day 2 I‘ll try to improve my skills further.”
“It was a great first day. We started all the activities, going to the gym and the VR46 Motor Ranch. It was great to see how the VR46 Riders Academy train in the gym, with activities that I‘ve never done before. Also, the race simulator was useful to train the skills required on the bike. Finally, visiting the Ranch which was a dream come true. I can‘t find the words to explain how beautiful it was to ride up to it. It was my first time riding on a flat track and I want to thank Marco Belli for the advice he gave me. We‘ll see what will happen during Day 2, but I hope for more of the same emotions as the ones I experienced on Day 1.”
Finn De Bruin
“It was another great day, yesterday. We did a lot, and we also learned a lot. We started our training at the Fisio Gym, mainly focusing or warming-up, stretching, and Pilates. Pilates was a first for me, so I really enjoyed taking part in that, though I must admit that it was quite intense because I didn‘t have any prior experience. After that I tried the race simulator, which was very cool, because it looks so realistic. In the afternoon, we visited the Rossi Fan Club, where we all ’became a fan‘, so to speak, and we received a lot of gifts, which was really sweet. We also did a bit of shopping at the VR46 Store in Tavullia, and then we headed to the Ranch, we went ’flat tracking‘. This was the first time in my life that I rode on a flat-track bike and on a flat-track circuit. It was really great to experience it, I really enjoyed it, also thanks to Yamaha and VR46, because the bikes were all-new and looked perfect – maybe now, after the first day, a little bit less so... Marco also added to the experience, he gave a lot of tips and tricks on how to ride the bike. I‘m really looking forward to starting Day 2, as well as the other upcoming days, to see how much I can improve and push myself.
The five Yamaha VR46 Master Camp riders met the seventh edition‘s second-day challenges head-on. They returned to the VR46 Motor Ranch in the morning and had a match-off against Andrea Migno and Niccolò Antonelli at the Autodromo di Modena on brand new Yamaha YZF-R3s in the afternoon.
With the first day's teachings fresh in their minds, the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp students took another step yesterday, focusing on the saying: “consistency is key”. The Netherlands‘ Finn de Bruin (18), Italy‘s Kevin Sabatucci (20) and Jacopo Facco (19), France‘s Andy Verdoïa (16), and Spain‘s Beatriz Neila (17) returned to the VR46 Motor Ranch in the morning and ventured out on new territory in the afternoon, tackling the Autodromo di Modena.
The youngsters left the hotel early after breakfast to meet up with three-time English Flat Track Champion and two-time American and European Flat Track Champion Marco Belli, who came to help them take another step in flat track riding.
“We didn‘t have much time on the track, but we condensed all the work, so we had a really tough schedule”, shared flat track expert Belli. “We started immediately with building speed on the little oval, which is where we finished off on Day 1, and then we moved on to the bigger oval.
“The key points were that they kept applying the skills they learned yesterday at a higher speed, which is not easy, because the breaking points and lines were different, and also the bike's reaction changes. But the progress was good, so we look forward to riding on the full track on Day 3. That will be a good exercise for the riders, because it has a challenging and tricky lay-out. They need to keep in mind what we‘ve taught them, and also, ironically, that higher speed isn‘t always the answer to setting a fast lap time and getting a good result.”
Though they have fallen in love with the VR46 Motor Ranch, there was very little time for the riders to hang around after the session. They quickly hopped on the bus to head to the Autodromo di Modena for a full-on road racing session on Pirelli-fitted YZF-R3s, with Niccolò Antonelli and Andrea Migno.
The two VR46 Academy riders didn‘t only help them get familiar with the circuit, they were also standing on the side-line ready to observe and give tips. At the end of the day the young riders decided they were ready for some healthy competition and took turns setting a hot lap in a Superpole session. The results were close, but it was Verdoïe who set the fastest time, ahead of Sabatucci and Neila in second and third place respectively.
“Today was a nice day with all the Master Camp riders”, said Antonelli after the training. “They seemed to enjoy the Modena track a lot. It was their first time coming here, and the same goes for us. It‘s nice to get to know a track and we left the circuit feeling really happy about today.”
“It was another great day with the Master Camp and the entire organisation, because we got the opportunity to try this new track. That was also fun for us and good training”, added Migno. “I saw that the guys enjoyed the experience a lot and it was a hard-fought battle for Superpole. The difference between their lap times was very small, they are all very close. I enjoyed teaching them to ride this new track, I hope they enjoyed it too and that they learned something and noticed an improvement. In any case, I was happy to be at the track with them and help them, and I will see everyone again at the next Master Camp.”
“Day 2 was a new experience, because I was given the opportunity to ride at a new track. This is of course always exciting, but especially so when you are learning how to ride it better from VR46 Academy riders. I want to thank Andrea and Niccolò for their help. I think all of us were really happy with the progress we made and scoring third in the Superpole is not bad. I want to say thank you to Yamaha, everybody at VR46 and bLU cRU. I really had a great time and I‘m feeling excited to continue the programme on Day 3.”
“Day 2 was a lot of fun! It started at the VR46 Motor Ranch in the morning. I really enjoyed the time we spent there, especially because we learned a lot. Then in the afternoon, with the YZF-R3, we did quite a lot of laps and I felt really good with the Pirelli tyres, I had a good pace. I felt really great on the new tyres, you can set a very fast lap on them, but it was important for me to train on the used tyres. We worked on consistency and made more and more laps, and still I set the same time on every lap. It was a really nice training session and good practice for the WorldSSP300 championship. It made me feel ready for the next race in Jerez, where I hope to get a good result.”
“The second day was long, hard, tiring, and challenging, but in the best way! At the end, I‘m very happy. I was able to improve my skills at the ranch in the morning and added onto what we practised on Day 1. I‘m sure that this will help me a lot on Day 3, when we will try riding a full lap. At the Modena circuit, I really enjoyed the lay-out. It was such a shame that I couldn‘t set a fast lap time in the Superpole because I had a small crash, but I‘m still very happy with what I learned.”
“We had a great time on Day 2. It was fun to improve on the skills that we learned on Day 1, and we have another day at the VR46 Motor Ranch coming up, so I‘m looking forward to that. We went to the Autodromo di Modena in the afternoon to practise our skills with the YZF-R3 and I‘m quite happy how the day went for me. I want to thank all the people that worked with us at the two circuits, helping us improve.”
Finn De Bruin
“We learned a lot on Day 2. Starting with the flat tracking. At the start of the session I had to get used to the bike, the track again, and the way to ride it. To be honest, I struggled a bit, but in the last session I made a step and that really helped. Suddenly it felt a lot more comfortable and easier, thanks to the tips I was given on body position. That helped me to go faster and in turn that made me enjoy the experience even more than I did on Day 1. The track session in the afternoon in Modena was fun from start to finish. I liked the track and we were able to get a lot of laps in. That allowed me to improve and go faster throughout the day. I just missed out on the Superpole podium, but the times were very close.”