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Bezzecchi credits Rossi for resolving "stupid" clutch issues in MotoGP

VR46 rider Marco Bezzecchi has hailed his mentor Valentino Rossi for helping him find a solution for the “stupid” clutch issues that have plagued him throughout his MotoGP career.

Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team race

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Race starts have always been the Achilles' Heel for Bezzecchi, with the Italian rider often unable to convert strong qualifying performances into top-tier race results after struggling to get away from the line.

As recently as this month’s Portuguese GP, Bezzecchi reported that he is still having issues with the clutch on his Ducati, having found the GP23 to be “completely opposite” to its predecessor.

But the three-time race winner appeared to make a breakthrough in Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix, as he pulled away cleanly from pole position to slot himself behind polesitter Marc Marquez. It was only when he was sandwiched by Brad Binder and Jorge Martin into Turn 1 that he lost a position, but even then he dropped to only third.

Speaking afterward, Bezzecchi thanked MotoGP legend Rossi - who was on-site at Jerez as part of his role at VR46 - for helping him get over his clutch issues and finally make a rapid getaway from the front row.

“At the beginning, I was really focused on the start,” he said. “It’s a part of the race that is always crucial right now but it's also a part where normally I struggle.

“The clutch of our bike is really tough and seems like I'm a little bit stupid and I can't be very good every time. So yeah, I was a bit nervous for this.

“Vale helped me a lot through this part of the weekend. He gave me a lot of advice and fortunately today I made a very good one and I was there in the beginning.”

Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team

Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Bezzecchi had managed a best finish of sixth prior to last weekend’s race at Jerez, a far cry from the kind of results that helped him take third in the standings last year.

But the Italian enjoyed a return to form at the Spanish GP as he finished a strong third behind fellow Ducatis of Francesco Bagnaia and Marquez, scoring his first podium since last year’s season finale at Valencia.

Asked if the performance showed he is now back at his very best in MotoGP, the 25-year-old said: “Hopefully, yes. I was missing this moment.

“The end of last season with the shoulder injury [in a training crash] but also the beginning of this season with the new bike and the adaptation and everything, it was a tough period for me.

“I was missing this feeling since a bit of time, so I am very happy to be here [on the podium]. It was a wonderful weekend, to be honest.

“I didn't expect [it], but I was very motivated when I started from home because last year here I was struggling, so I was motivated for this.

“But also because I was improving step by step. So I wanted to make a good one and fortunately, I did it.”

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