'Genuine, instinctive and always saying what's what' - Which rider surprised VR46 team director Uccio Salucci the most
In the past season, Uccio Salucci’s VR46 Racing Team developed into a real competitor in the fight for podium finishes. One of his two protégés stood out in particular – Marco Bezzecchi.
In his debut season in MotoGP, Marco Bezzecchi showed his incredible potential. His maiden pole position at the Thailand Grand Prix and a podium finish in Assen speak for themselves.
Bezzecchi celebrating his Rookie of the year title – Image provided by Motorsport Images
The Italian is one of the most charismatic riders of the past season – he surprised many in the paddock with his sometimes astonishing performances.
While at the beginning of the season, he was still a little unsettled by his performance in the pre-season tests, Bezzecchi developed into a candidate for the top six throughout the season.
There was never really any doubt that the 24-year-old would become the top rookie of the season.
In an interview with Speedweek.com, VR46 team director Alessio “Uccio” Salucci confirms the Italian’s surprising pace.
“I was hoping he would be very strong. But maybe I didn’t expect him to be that strong,” Salucci enthuses.
Despite this, Valentino Rossi’s long-time companion cautions that one has to put the performance in perspective compared to other rookies.
“Raúl Fernández is an exceptional talent from my point of view, but the KTM was not easy to ride.”
“Gardner was the same on the KTM, Di Giannantonio struggled a bit… So we had one or two advantages in the fight for the rookie title. I’m not hiding that.”
Fernández and Gardner during the Thailand Grand Prix – Image provided by Motorsport Images
That’s not to dismiss his rookie protégé’s performance, however, saying Bezzecchi was “great” and could “become a real personality for sure.”
Salucci explains: “He is a character head, everyone in the team can confirm that. But he is genuine, instinctive and someone who always says what’s what. People perceive that at home as well.”
Bezzecchi brings a refreshing manner to the paddock – at times the 24-year-old reminds one of a young Valentino Rossi or, not only because of the similarity of his hair, of Marco Simoncelli.
For his team director, it is clear that Bezzecchi can also become the flagship of MotoGP away from the race track. “He has the potential.”
For the new season, the young Italian will ride a 2022 Ducati, this should make it much easier to work together in the team.
Last season Luca Marini was guaranteed the GP-22, but he will not upgrade again for 2023 and will have to settle for the outdated model.
Despite this, the VR46 team director sees an opportunity and potential to improve their internal cooperation.
“We are trying to teach them these things – that they share their views and also work with the teammate to move the team forward,” Salucci explains.
On the same bike, he hopes, both riders will “toe along and push each other”. However, Salucci reminds us: “It takes some time for that to happen.”