Valentino Rossi Opens VR46 Academy To Nurture Italian Talent

Though it is still some years off, Valentino Rossi is laying the groundwork for his life after racing. The nine-times world champion yesterday announced the start of the VR46 Riders Academy, a program for nurturing young Italian racing talent during the transition into Grand Prix racing.

The academy will consist of offering training facilities to help young riders develop their talent. The riders will have Rossi's gym and his dirt track ranch at their disposal, and will also receive support and tuition from Rossi himself. The first entrants into the academy will consist of the Team Sky VR46 Moto3 riders, Romano Fenati and Francesco 'Pecco' Bagnaia, Moto2 rider Franco Morbidelli, and Luca Marini, Andrea Migno and Nicolo Bulega, all of whom will be competing in the Spanish CEV Moto3 championship. The academy is to be run by Alessio 'Uccio' Salucci, with other key people from Rossi's Tavullia circle.

The VR46 Riders Academy offers much optimism for the future of Italian racing, after a couple of years of poor results. The Italian federation FMI has also been focusing on supporting and nurturing young riders, running teams in both Moto3 and Superstock championships. The hard work of the FMI is starting to pay off - Fenati rode for Team Italia for the past two seasons - and with Valentino Rossi throwing his weight behind the project, progress should be much faster. The VR46 Riders Academy is loosely modeled on the former Grand Prix Academy, run by Alberto Puig, which has since morphed into the Red Bull Rookies Cup. Like that program, the VR46 Academy offers support to riders in every aspect of their preparation: riding, physical training, and mental preparation.

Below is the press release from the VR46 Riders Academy:

VR46 Riders Academy

Valentino Rossi and his men open their doors to young two-wheels talents.

An Italian academy for young Italian rider.

Tavullia, March 13, 2014 - VR46 Riders Academy is the new headquarters for the training and growth of young quality Italian riders. This was announced by Valentino Rossi that, with VR46, for the first time, makes available his experience and knowledge gained over many years of career.

The new talents of the VR46 Riders Academy will grow in Vale’s “gym", company and "Ranch", and right here, Vale will develop, for each of them, challenges on the track and exercises to enhance their qualities. The academy has six talents from Tavullia: Franco Morbidelli, Luca Marini, Andrea Migno, Nicolò Bulega , Romano Fenati and Pecco Bagnaia. The riders are trained together, but with specific programs prepared according to the different physical and psychological attitudes.

The VR46 Riders Academy has an experienced team. Alessio Salucci manages the relationship with the Teams, Alberto Tebaldi is responsible for logistics and external relations, Luca Brivio for the operational management of the riders at the CEV, Carlo Casabianca for the physical preparation, Claudio Sanchioni for the contractual aspects and Barbara Mazzoni for the secretarial and administrative services.

Racing is not just a matter of talent. For this reason, in addition to a very intense and focused physical and psychological preparation, VR46 Riders Academy is committed to ensuring both the best possible support and service – thanks to world-class chief technicians and mechanics - and a future as much as possible fitting with the characteristics of each pilot.

Salucci and Tebaldi recruited sponsors and Teams, appropriate for the characteristics of each rider. Franco Morbidelli will participate in the Moto2 World Championship with the Team Italtrans, Luca Marini and Andrea Migno will be part of theTeam Aspar for the CEV, together with Nicolò Bulega rider for the Team La Glisse. Fenati and Bagnaia run in Sky Racing Team VR46 for the Moto3 World Championship, the team created for the most talented riders of the two-wheels Academy.

Back to top


Nice gesture on his part to try and help develop younger riders. I'm not aware of any other recent GP veteran giving back to the sport in this manner, though many have either started charitable foundations or lent their name to charitable causes.

I'm glad such a big name in the sport will stay involved. With other riders that have moved on to manage teams (LCR, Martinez - Aspar, Gresini to name a few) it's great news.