On the eve of the departure for Qatar, we’ve seen the debut of the Mooney VR46 Racing Team, in Pesaro, with Dj Albertino and Vic as presenters and in the presence of Team Owner Valentino Rossi, officially sealing the new partnership with Mooney.
Valentino Rossi – Team Owner Mooney VR46 Racing Team
“It has been a long way since Moto3, but now we are ready to make our debut in MotoGP with a VR46 team and four young riders who I know will give their 100 per cent. It is the closing of a circle for me and also for all the people who have worked with so much passion on this project over the years. At the same time it is a great debut and the beginning of a new chapter of this beautiful story in MotoGP. We are here thanks to the support of all our partners and I am happy to welcome Mooney: we met this winter at the Ranch, there was an immediate feeling and now we find ourselves here on this stage with these beautiful bikes with our colours.”
Also in attendence were Emilio Petrone (CEO of Mooney), Salvatore Borgese (General Manager – Commercial & Banking Services of Mooney), Alessio Salucci (Team Director) and Alberto Tebaldi (CFO).
After the positive first tests in Malaysia and Indonesia, Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi can’t wait to get back to work on the yellow Ducati Desmosedici GP, the livery created by the VR46 graphics department. The fluorescent yellow and black of the VR46 mixes with the ocher yellow and dark grey of Mooney.
That theme will also repeated on the Kalex of the Moto2 Team with Celestino Vietti Ramus and Niccolò Antonelli, led by new Team Manager Luca Brivio.
Luca Marini #10
“It will be a very important season for me and the whole Mooney VR46 Racing Team: I have begun to become familiar with the new Ducati GP22 bike and to understand its potential in the last tests. The feelings are more than positive, the goal is to be able to consistently stay in the top group, fighting for the Top5 and always stay in the Top10. I would like to arrive on the podium then, I know it’s a very ambitious goal but I have faith in my crew. The atmosphere is great, we had fun and I had a good time. I also really like the colors of the bike, they have always been those of the VR46.”
Marco Bezzecchi #72
“Qatar is just a breath from now and I will have to learn to manage the positive pressure that will come. It has been a long wait and the adrenaline is a lot now. I’m happy with how the tests went, of course I still have a lot to do, we have only done one race simulation so far and the first GPs will be challenging. I like the Team, they are close-knit and the atmosphere is good. The title of Rookie of the year is a great goal, more than anything else, I’d like to fight for it until the end. It will be special get out on the track on this bike: it has the colors of Valentino and the VR46 family and the Italian spirit of Mooney and Ducati.”
Celestino Vietti Ramus #13
“It will be a season to be lived in one breath: a year of experience on my shoulders, a motivated work group, that of the Mooney VR46 Racing Team, and some really positive feelings after the first tests. I can’t wait the Qatar GP, one of my favorite tracks to test myself. The pace is good, the goal is to be as constant and precise as possible, crucial characteristics for being competitive in Moto2.”
Niccolo Antonelli #28
“A new category, a new Team, the Mooney VR46 Racing Team, and new motivation and desire to do well. We worked hard in the testing to get as ready as possible for the first race in Qatar. The Team is helping me to measure up with the new category and to be comfortable in riding: there is a lot to do, but we are not in a hurry. We continue in this direction, gradually in order to be competitive as soon as possible.”
Alessio Salucci – Team Director Mooney VR46 Racing Team
“I can only be satisfied to be part of this new project, which is not that new. A Team that has come a long way, thanks to the support of Sky Italia, a long apprenticeship between Moto2 and Moto3 and which step by step has reached MotoGP. A natural evolution to be able to follow the best talents of the VR46 Riders Academy even more closely. We saw Luca and Marco grow up. An important commitment in MotoGP, but which does not obscure Moto2 where we will continue to work because we believe it is preparatory for our riders. It was the right time to take up this challenge, a new chapter of this book always under the sign of the Italian spirit and the DNA of VR46 and Valentino who is 100% involved. He has always been innovative and here too there is his mark. Special thanks to all of our partners who continue to believe in this project and a welcome to Mooney, who joins our family as a title partner. Without their support it would not have been possible to arrive here, we hope to be able to really repay everyone for their trust in the best possible way.”
Pablo Nieto – Team Manager MotoGP – Mooney VR46 Racing Team
“A beginning of an important season is so close to us, many expectations and a new Team that will make its debut in Qatar soon. Let’s start with the riders, each of them has to set a goal: on the one hand Luca, who already has a year of experience in MotoGP, on the other Marco, a Rookie. Luca will hit the track with the Ducati GP22 factory motorcycle, he can have fun this year. Marco, on the other hand, can fight to be Rookie of the Year, he has great potential, but it will be difficult because he will compete with very talented and very fast riders coming from the lower classes. By our side there will be Ducati with whom we have begun to build a wonderful relationship, they welcomed us into their family and we speak a very smiley language. The crew has the DNA of VR46: many of the technicians and mechanics of this Team come from Moto2 and have worked with us for many years. An opportunity for growth for many of our guys, a further source of pride for me.”
Luca Brivio – Team Manager Moto2 – Mooney VR46 Racing Team
“It will be an interesting season: Celestino is in his second year in Moto2 on Kalex, he closed in crescendo in 2021, he did well in the preseason and we hope he can be competitive right from the beginning. A category jump instead for Niccolò: he has a very solid and experienced crew behind him, he has a good potential and the primary objective is to have fun, not have too much pressure and grow step by step. So many reasons to give our best, also to reward Vale, Uccio, Pablo and the VR46 for this great opportunity: I joined this Team many years ago, in 2014, and now it is a great pride for me to be able to cover this new role of responsibility.”
Check out the team launch with English subs:
A bit of VR46 Racing Team history
The Team was born in 2014 thanks to the partnership between Sky Italia and the VR46 Riders Academy as the maximum expression of its philosophy: to support the young Italian talents of the two wheels from Moto3, where the Team is also involved in the Spanish Championship (CEV), up to the MotoGP. The Team made its debut in Qatar the same year with Romano Fenati and Francesco Bagnaia on a KTM bike.
After three seasons in Moto3 and two Junior World titles at CEV (Nicolò Bulega in Moto3 2015 and Dennis Foggia in Moto3 2017) the Team jumps into Moto2 in 2017 with Kalex. The riders are Francesco Bagnaia and Stefano Manzi. The Moto3 path continues with Andrea Migno and Nicolò Bulega.
As a Rookie in Moto2, in 2017, with four podiums, Francesco Bagnaia achieves the title of Rookie of the Year, the first time for the Team. The following year, with his new teammate, Luca Marini, Bagnaia was crowned World Champion in the Moto2 class, on a Kalex bike.
The Rookie of the Year title was taken again also the following year (2019) by Celestino Vietti Ramus in Moto3.
Bagnaia is the first rider of the Sky VR46 nursery to land in MotoGP in 2019 with Pramac Racing (Ducati). Until now, 10 Italian riders have moved their first steps in this Team: Fenati, Bagnaia, Migno, Manzi, Marini, Dalla Porta, Foggia, Vietti Ramus, Bulega, Bezzecchi.
In 2020 in Moto2, Luca Marini is vice World Champion, just 9 points far from the World title (Bastianini). The Team wins the Team Moto2 general standings (with Marini and Bezzecchi) and it takes the 3rd place in the Team Moto3 general standings (with Vietti Ramus and Migno). A year to remember with 17 overall podiums: Vietti 2 wins, 1 second place and 1 third place; Marini 3 wins and 3 second places and Bezzecchi 2 wins and 5 podiums.
2021 then saw Luca Marini debuts in MotoGP thanks to the partnership between Sky Italia, the VR46 Riders Academy, the Avintia Team and Ducati. As a Rookie in MotoGP, he was the only rider to have crossed the finishing line in all 18 races of the season. He finished with an amount of 41 points and a P5 as best result. In Moto2, Marco Bezzecchi is third in the riders standings with 214 points. Celestino Vietti Ramus – Rookie in Moto2 – closes the season constantly growing with 8 places in the Top10 (two fourth places) and 13 times overall into the points.
VR46 Racing Team stats
Eight seasons between Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP
Three riders brought to MotoGP (Bagnaia, Marini and Bezzecchi)
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