Brandon Demmery gets to ride Rossi’s Ranch during VR46 Master Camp
Images: Yamaha Motor Racing Srl
The Yamaha VR46 Master Camp students, including Aussie Brendon Demmery, have had the special VIP treatment in Tavullia being welcomed to the Official Fan Club Valentino Rossi Tavullia, but also invited to the VR46 Motor Ranch to sit in on private VR46 Riders Academy training and meet their hero, Valentino Rossi.
Rossi Ranch – Day Two
The second day of the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp had a lot more action in store for Brandon Demmery (Australia, 19), Peerapong Boonlert (Thailand, 18), Anggi Setiawan (Indonesia, 18), Shota Ite (Japan, 15), Muhammad Akid bin Aziz (Malaysia, 18), and Tomas Casas (Canada, 17) than they dreamed of.
In the morning they were taught how to train on a racing simulator with Andrea Migno and Luca Marini, the afternoon was filled with Francesco Bagnaia teaching the Master Camp riders how to pick the perfect line whilst MiniGP racing at the Misanino KCE World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. The young hopefuls ended the training with a karting session.
Though day one had taken its toll on the riders, a good night sleep meant they started off day two full of energy and raring to go. The first stop was the Fisio Gym, to learn how to use a race simulator.
After a quick warm-up to loosen the muscles, the group split into two: one half went on to participate in a Pilates class, while the other half was demonstrated how to use a race simulator by Migno.
After the Moto3 rider showed how to do a hot lap around the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli on the simulator, the Master Camp riders suited up and had a go themselves, only to find that it‘s actually more difficult than riding a real bike if you are not used to the controls. Half way through the gym-session the groups swapped places.
After a quick change of clothes, the riders had to rush off to their next appointment. Yesterday they didn‘t have time to stop by their favourite town, Tavullia, as their riding instructor, Bagnaia, was already waiting for them at the Misanino KCE World Circuit Marco Simoncelli with six mini bikes.
After a rider briefing, the Master Camp recruits quickly changed back into their leathers. During the practice sessions, their instructor (the Moto2 rider who secured second place in Jerez last weekend) steered the students in finding the right line and gear changes.
After a few outings on track, the riders felt confident they were ready for the Master Camp MiniGP race, that was also attended by VR46 Riders Academy Director Alessio ’Uccio‘ Salucci.
The short race was won by bin Aziz, ahead of Setiawan and Boonlert in second and third place respectively. It was time to say “arrivederci” to Bagnaia, who’s work was done for the day. However, the young protégés weren‘t ready to leave the circuit yet and headed back out in go-karts.
Demmery had previous experience in karting, having worked as a mechanic, which also required doing test drives. He set the standard high for the other riders, but they soon found a good rhythm.
“Yesterday was very interesting. We went to the gym to try the race simulator and Pilates, which is something I had never done before, so that was a lot of fun and very helpful. It was something very different to what I normally do. In the afternoon we did some laps on mini bikes and in go-karts. The MiniGP was a bit hard for me, because I‘m a bit too big for the bike, so I struggled a bit, but the go-karts were good. I won the race and I‘m very happy with the day, it was good fun!”
The Australian came first in a friendly kart competition, Cases and Boonlert came second and third. (You can get to know the laid-back and fully motivated Demmery, better by watching his rider interview video).
Overall the riders were very happy with the variety of experiences and skills they acquired yesterday (see the Day 2 review video), which left them feeling excited for more track action on day three, today.
Rossi Ranch – Day Three
The Yamaha VR46 Master Camp students couldn‘t believe their luck, with the third day of the programme a whirlwind of activity that saw them first return to Valentino Rossi‘s Motor Ranch, to join Sky Racing Team VR46‘s Technical Director and Crew Chief Pietro Caprara and Yamaha Motor Racing Srl‘s Lin Jarvis at the VR46 headquarters for two theory lessons, while they finished the day off with a riding session at theMisano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli with the VR46 Riders Academy.
The Yamaha VR46 Master Camp riders needed little time to get up to speed on the third day, as the riders reunited with flat track expert Marco Belli, instead of heading to the gym, to further build on their control of sliding the bike.
Already familiar with the track the one way round, this time the riders were asked by Belli to ride in the opposite direction. The young talents were quick to pick up the pace after a few practice laps and Belli answered the eager students‘ questions on how to further improve their riding style and what the sweet spot is for opening the throttle. He then asked them to do various exercises on the oval part of the circuit to perfect their lower body movement on the bike.
After the practice session at the VR46 Motor Ranch, the six students‘ efforts were rewarded with a lunch of meatballs, rice, mashed potatoes, and ice cream for dessert at the restaurant in Tavullia, but soon the young hopefuls had to hurry to their next star-studded appointment at the VR46 headquarters.
The third Master Camp‘s theoretical course was divided into two parts: the first being taught by Sky Racing Team VR46‘s Technical Director and Crew Chief, Pietro Caprara, and the second by Yamaha Motor Racing Srl‘s Managing Director, Lin Jarvis. The riders, who were really impressed by the modern style of the building and interior, were warmly greeted and guided to Valentino Rossi‘s office upstairs.
Throughout the class, Caprara used the Doctor‘s #46 YZR-M1 that was on display, to illustrate how to properly set up a bike for racing in terms of wheelbase, chassis, trail, offset, fork angle and swingarm angle.
In the second part of the course, Jarvis shared a short ’history lesson‘ on his career with Yamaha, how Yamaha and Rossi started working together, the ups and down they went through over the years and what learning they took from it. He also told them how other Yamaha riders handle the demand put on them on a World Championship level.
After his story, he gave the students a very exclusive opportunity to ask him any questions they wanted, which the Master Camp boys used to their advantage to find out in which areas they should improve their riding and their professionality to make it onto the world stage of motorcycle racing.
When the theory class was over the riders, had one more stop to make for the day. They hopped into their van and hurried to the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, where six Pirelli-fitted YZF-R3s were nicely lined-up in the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp pit box.
The riders were soon asked to join a rider briefing on riding safety and the track‘s lay-out with yesterday‘s instructor Lorenzo Baldassarri, before they could change into their leathers and rev up the R3-engines.
As the Misano circuit is quite twisty and technical, the riders needed a few laps riding behind Baldassarri to find the right lines and brake points on the track. They quickly got the hang of it and started to have fun on their YZF-R3s during a couple of free practice sessions with the VR46 Academy riders.
“What an exciting day! We got to do a lot more laps at the Motor Ranch and that was a lot of fun. We did a few more drills and learned more about the track from Marco Belli and that was an amazing experience. We went anti-clockwise yesterday and clockwise today. Then we went to Misano late in the afternoon, early evening, and it was interesting to race at that time of day, I had never done that before. It worked out for me, I ended up being the fastest, which I‘m really happy about. The day in a whole was really good.”
The timing showed the young talent made great improvements as they started to make the connections between what they learned in the MiniGP session yesterday, on the Motor Ranch in the morning, and during the theory class and riding session in Misano in the afternoon. (To find out why riding a mini bike is a beneficial exercise, read the Master Camp‘s fourth blog entry, by Francesco Bagnaia).
Rossi Ranch – Day Four
The fourth day of the third Yamaha VR46 Master Camp was full of surprises for the third edition riders and will forever be engraved in their memories as the day that they got to meet their idol, Valentino Rossi, at his VR46 Motor Ranch.
The day started off as normally, with the riders making an early start to complete a race simulator session and a running session at the Fisio Gym, with the intensity level being lowered a couple of steps from the days before by their trainer Carlo Casabianca and work-out buddies Moto3 rider Andrea Migno and Francesco Bagnaia, allowing the riders to recover from two intense days of training.
After stretching and a short 2km run, they headed to Tavullia, where two surprises were in store for the riders. Those had to wait a short while, however, because first it was time to go shopping at the only physical VR46 Store in the world (which also sells the Master Camp t-shirts and hoodies).
The first surprise came in the form of a very tasty dessert. It was Canada‘s Tom Casas 18th birthday yesterday and the Bar, Ristorante e Pizzeria Da Rossi establishment celebrated the occasion with a homemade chocolate ice cream cake.
The riders finished their plates in no time, which was the cue for Official Fan Club Valentino Rossi Tavullia Vice President, Flavio Fratesi, to make a special visit to the Master Camp lunch table.
He asked the riders to head over to the VR46 fan club headquarters just around the corner, where they got the chance to sign up as members, received a VR46 Fan Club membership card and were showered with gifts, including a t-shirt and a cardboard version of the iconic Tavullia road sign.
With bags full of merchandise and gifts, the riders made their way to the Motor Ranch for a very special main event. They were especially invited by VR46 to a private training session, to learn the theory of the techniques from flat track expert Marco Belli, whilst watching their VR46 Academy friends in action. But first it was time for the headline act.
Once they arrived at the VR46 Motor Ranch, the students immediately noticed that a big Master Camp tent was put up on the sidelines in the grass for them, offering a perfect view of the track’s ovals.
The protégés didn‘t have to wait long before the big event started. Rossi immediately made his way to the Master Camp tent upon his arrival, to shake hands with the students who he had been following from a distance over the last four days.
He was more than happy to meet the six talents at his Motor Ranch and interested in their experiences of the week so far. (To find out what how the Master Camp started and what Yamaha’s objectives are, watch an interview video with Motorsports Division & YMC MotoGP Group Leader, Kouichi Tsuji.)
After a photo opportunity and an exchange of gifts, it was time for some serious racing. The Master Camp riders couldn‘t believe their luck that they were sitting front row to watch their childhood hero, as well as the VR46 Academy riders, live in action, right in front of them, with Belli at their sides to explain the techniques behind it and answer all their questions. It surely was a day they will never forget.