Rossi “full of ideas”, totally involved in the Mooney VR46 project


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

Longtime friend and business partner of Valentino Rossi, ‘Uccio’ has been part of the VR46 project from the start and heads into 2022 as Team Principal for both teams with Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi leading the challenge of first class 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 members. Now we are going to MotoGP with Luca and Bezzecchi, two of our riders who have been with us for many years. We will see which stage 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 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 longtime fan.

“It’s always difficult, it’s always difficult to find the budget because for MotoGP and Moto2 you need a lot of money but for sure with VR46 and with Vale it’s easier for sure”, admitted Salucci.

“For the organization of the team, we work a lot during the winter, he continues. “We start working in April/March of last year to do this project but especially the last three months we are working very hard in VR46, with our guys and Ducati to build the team and we are going to test already, in Malaysia and in Indonesia.

“The team was working well, it’s new but we are already working for me in the right direction. Of course, the road is long, but anyway, we try 100% and we see what happens.

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

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

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

While the MotoGP team is at the pinnacle of the VR46 project, the rider academy remains determined to take its students through to the end. Factory contracts will not be set aside in an effort to keep a hold on future talent for themselves.

“Of course we make our team for our riders, but I hope the riders will join the factory team,” confirmed Salucci. “Maybe not in the next two years but afterwards, yes for sure! We work for Marini and Bezzecchi and sincerely I hope to go to a factory team, I hope factory Ducati 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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