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Moto2 images from the 2020 Grand Prix of Qatar
NEWS

“Teamwork is the key” with VR46 Sky Team Moto2 Rider Marco Bezzecchi

Apr 012020

On track the champion wins alone. At first glance, the champion stands alone too. However, behind them is a vast crew of people performing a highly orchestrated ballet of data, strategies, emotions, and hard work. What you see on TV screen or from the grandstands is the culmination of this teamwork.

Race teams spend hundreds of hours perfecting each aspect of their competition machine. The effort culminates in two riders going out on track, and using their knowledge of the bike, their talent and experience to pursue the win. When two teammates collaborate to push each other and challenge to raise the bar, the reward is even greater.

At the Qatar Grand Prix - which so far has been the only Grand Prix event of 2020 - we witnessed how the ability to work as a team can make the difference with the two Moto2 Sky VR46 riders Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi pushing each other in the practices to improve the lap times.

“Great teamwork is the peculiarity of the SKY VR46 Team”, explained Marco Bezzecchi at his debut in the Italian squad. “The goal of the team is to be competitive with both bikes. There is not a number one and a number two rider, we are there to get the best possible results”.

 

“Since the winter tests at Jerez, I discovered this method that they were already using with Pecco Bagnaia and Luca Marini with great results. In the very first tests I focused on learning the new bike, but soon, even if my speed was not enough, we started to practice together with Luca Marini, my teammate, and this helped both of us to ride faster lap after lap”.

 

“It’s really cool because you can easily realize your strengths and weakness, see where you are doing better, and where your teammate is stronger”. But how does it work? “It’s the result of a shared strategy between Pablo, the team coordinator, the two chief mechanics and the riders. If there are no major tests to do, we go out together in the practices to try to push each other and improve the performance. According to the lap times, Luca can lead first, and I follow, or vice versa. It’s an extraordinary boost.

“When I’m leading, knowing that my teammate is behind, I give my best to escape. And when it’s my turn to chase Luca, I push like hell to catch him. In the qualifying, this is even vital, and the goal is to qualify both machines in the front rows. The plan changes according to the track characteristics, but the method is basically the same. The one who is stronger, goes out and leads, and then – after some laps – we exchange positions”.

 

In Qatar Marco Bezzecchi scored the second fastest time in FP2 with Luca Marini in third place. In Qualifying Marini finished second, with Bezzecchi in P7. “In qualifying we used only one tyre due to the conditions of the track. I went out first in qualifying because I had a stronger pace in the first laps, and Luca was able to make his best lap time on the third lap. Then we exchanged and at the last lap I could improve my lap time, and finished 7th”.

 

“In the race we had a good start. Luca was leading, while I was 7th, when the front tyre suddenly dropped around lap 7or 8. We started to struggle and lose positions. I finally closed 12th. It’s strange because only me, Luca, and Jorge Martin suffered from this issue with the front tyre. We will analyse the data to understand what happened. It was a pity because in the race we couldn’t capitalize the good results done in the practices, but all in all I’m satisfied because we were competitive the whole weekend, and I was able to score the first points. In Qatar I learned to stay with the front runners especially in the first laps, while I need to improve in the second part of the race”.

Coming from a difficult 2018 season with the Tech3 KTM Team, Marco Bezzecchi was relieved by the 2020 opening race in Qatar, that will be remembered as the first weekend without the MotoGP race, that was cancelled, due to the precaution measures taken by the local authorities to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. “It was a strange weekend because the premiere class steals all the headlines. As a motorsport fan, I have always followed the MotoGP race, so I missed it”, confessed Bezzecchi. “I’m used to meeting the other riders of the VR46 Academy and Valentino Rossi in the paddock. We usually gather and comment on the practices. An advantage? This time the Moto2 class was under the spotlights. We felt like the premiere class. It was cool. The event was run behind closed doors because the guests were allowed only on the grandstands. It was a pity for the fans, because it’s nice when you can share your joy with the public especially at the start. In a way, in Qatar, the difference was not so huge, because there is not the same attendance as in the European races”.

 

Regarding the team, Marco added “I’m happy because the atmosphere in the team is really good. I got along very well also with my previous team run by Hervé Poncharal. The difference is maybe that now I have the opportunity to meet my mechanics also outside the race weekends. When we train at the Ranch, they come and prepare the bikes. We go out for a pizza or a ride. This is very nice and I feel to be part of a factory squad. I also like that the fact that SKY VR46 has a team also in Moto3. We are part of a great family and it’s nice to be all together”.

 

Being a rider of the Academy is a great advantage. Marco Bezzecchi remembers well how this amazing adventure started 5 years ago.

“I feel the privilege to be part of the Academy and train with Valentino Rossi. It all started at Mugello 2015. I did the Moto3 wild card at the Italian Grand Prix mainly because I wanted to meet Valentino Rossi, my idol.

On Sunday I watched the MotoGP race from the safety road along the track and there I met Albi, the President of the VR46, and Carlo Casabianca, the physio of the Academy. We started to talk and later on they invited me at the Ranch, where I met also Valentino. It was an amazing experience. Finally in December I received a phone call and I was invited to join the Academy and here I am.

“It’s an incredible opportunity to learn. I’m impressed by Valentino’s great interest for all us. He appreciated our teamwork in Qatar. He saw that I was doing well in the first laps, while I was struggling in the second part of the race. He always gives us a lot of advices. In particular he reminds us to be always professional, and to take care of all the details on and off track”.

 

In the long and uncertain delay for the second round of the championship, Marco Bezzecchi is training at home. At the end of the season he will move to his own place, but for the moment he is still living in Rimini with his dad Vito, a truck mechanic, his mom Daniela, an accountant, and his younger sister Laura, who is studying at the college. His elder sister Silvia is a make-up artist and works at Cinecittà in Rome. “It’s a special moment. The motivation remains high because we are really looking forward to jump on the bike. This year I arrived at the first race of the season fully focused. My goals? This year I want to enjoy, return to be competitive and fight for the podium and the victory”.

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