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Rossi ‘full of ideas’, totally involved in Mooney VR46 project

VR46 unveiled its 2022 MotoGP and Moto2 teams on Thursday with Alessio Salucci front and centre.

Long-time friend and business partner of Valentino Rossi, ‘Uccio’ has been with the VR46 project from the outset and heads into 2022 as Team Director for the two squads with Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi spearheading the premier class challenge alongside Moto2 riders Celestino Vietti and Niccolo Antonelli.

“The VR46 project is the evolution of the project started in 2014,” Salucci said of the VR46 Riders Academy and subsequent team entires.” Now we are going to MotoGP with Luca and Bezzecchi two of our riders from many, many years with us. We see what step next week but anyway we are very, very excited and I want to see our bikes on the asphalt in Qatar.”


Much has been speculated about the behind-the-scenes funding for Rossi’s MotoGP team, after initial contracts with Saudi-backed Aramco came to nothing. Mooney stepped in over the winter after meetings at Rossi’s Tavullia ranch between the Grand Prix legend and CEO Emilio Petrone - a long time fan.

“Is always tough, is always difficult to find the budget because for MotoGP and Moto2 needs a lot of money but for sure with VR46 and with Vale is more easy for sure,” Salucci admitted.

“For the organisation of the team, we work a lot during the winter,” he continued. “We start to work in the April/March of last year to do this project but especially the last three months we work very strong in VR46, with our guys and Ducati to build the team and we already go to test, in Malaysia and Indonesia.

“The team was working well, is new but already we work for me in a good way. For sure the road is long but anyway we try 100 percent and we see what happens.”

Reflecting on his best friend’s commitment and involvement of the new venture, Salucci is aware of Rossi’s continuing passion both for racing in general - as he embarks on a new career on four wheels - as well as his vast experience inside the MotoGP paddock.

“He stopped to ride MotoGP unfortunately, now he have the new adventure with the car but anyway he have more time now for dedicate this project, this team,” he explained. “Also we do MotoGP, for sure he have a lot of experience in MotoGP. He comes two or three times in the week, in the office at VR46 for understand, for work to help us and is 200 per cent inside this project and we are very happy.

“Vale is always full of ideas, very, very smart, he have experience and is special for us.”

While the MotoGP team is the pinnacle of the VR46 project, the riders academy remains committed to taking their students all the way. Factory contracts will not be pushed aside in a bid to maintain a grip on the upcoming talents for themselves.

“For sure we do our team for our riders but I hope the riders go on to the factory team,” Salucci confirmed. “Maybe not in the next two years but after, yes for sure! We work for Marini and Bezzecchi and sincerely I hope to go in a factory team, I hope Ducati factory or the other, I don’t know. We are here for Luca and for Marco and we hope they go to the factory team.”

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