Marco Bezzecchi has paid tribute to mentor Valentino Rossi for giving him the ‘possibility to grow’ after clinching his maiden MotoGP win and with it the championship lead in the Argentina MotoGP..
The Italian built on the momentum of his podiums in Portimao and Saturday’s Argentine Sprint Race to take a dominant victory in tricky conditions, heralding a first for both himself and his Mooney VR46 Racing team.
Leading Johann Zarco and Alex Marquez home for in a Ducati 1-2-3 - in turn breaking the Italian manufacturer’s duck at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit - while Bezzecchi admits he wasn’t keen on the prospect of a wet race, he recognised his opportunity from fourth on the grid.
“Fantastic, something you can’t describe. It was a long journey but finally this moment has come. When I saw the rain I was very desperate, because yesterday I felt well on the bike and said ‘tomorrow, if I don’t make any mistakes, I can try to win’.
“So when I saw the rain it was a disaster for my emotions. But then in the warm-up, the feeling was incredible in the wet, so I thought ‘I can do this’.
With victory consolidating a strong start to Bezzecchi’s sophomore campaign, while he joins Pecco Bagnaia and Franco Morbidelli in becoming the latest VR46 Rider Academy protege to top the podium, he takes the honour of doing so as part of the nine-time World Champion’s own team.
“I am happy, more for the team because without them, Vale and the Academy, it would be probably impossible to arrive here.
“My family made sacrifices and we spent a lot of time around the world in the beginning, so they put in a lot of effort to realise my dream.
“The same for Vale, he is my idol and still is, since when I was young, I started because of him. So to meet him, become his friend and his rider, to win a MotoGP race, it’s incredible.”
He is my idol and still is, since when I was young, I started because of him. So to meet him, become his friend and his rider, to win a MotoGP race, it’s incredible
The result sees Bezzecchi ascend to the head of the 2023 MotoGP World Championship standings at the expense of Bagnaia, who slid off while disputing second with Marquez.
For now though, Bezzecchi is putting the thought of a title fight to the back of his mind as he looks ahead to round three in the United States.
“I think it is a bit too early, it is just the second weekend. Now we will go to Austin, a track which is difficult and where Marc is normally unbeatable. I think it is a bit too early and try to enjoy this day, but we will see in a few months.”