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Valentino Rossi’s MotoGP teams aiming for victories in 2023

Valentino Rossi’s VR46 MotoGP team hopes to be able to “get a win or two” in 2023 and mount consistent podium charges in its second season in the class.

Luca Marini, VR46 Racing Team

MotoGP legend Rossi brought his long-running VR46 team to the premier class for the first time last year after signing a three-year deal to run as a Ducati satellite squad.

The team managed a pole position with rookie Marco Bezzecchi in Thailand last year, with the Italian taking a maiden podium at the Dutch GP earlier in the season.

Both Bezzecchi and Rossi’s half-brother Luca Marini will remain with the team for 2023, with team director Uccio Salucci telling Autosport’s Spanish sister website Motorsport.es that he hopes to reach the top step of the podium this season.

“Our first year was better than we expected," Salucci said in Portugal. “I knew we would go fast, but I didn't think so much.

“I was a bit worried about the lack of MotoGP experience of some of our mechanics.

“But they all did very well. Now, in the second year, it's fair to expect more.

“I hope to fight for the podium every Sunday and get a win or two, that would be a dream. But the goals will depend on the speed you can be able to show.”

VR46 will run 2022-spec bikes for its riders this season, unlike last year when Marini had a factory bike.

Given Gresini’s Enea Bastianini (who has now moved to the factory Ducati team) won four races on a 2021-spec bike last year, Salucci expects his team can replicate this in 2023.

“We sat Luca, Valentino and I at a table and talked about it, and even he [Marini] agreed to continue working with the bike he used in 2022,” he adds.

“We understood last year that the factory Ducati is not an easy bike to manage for a private team like ours

“Pramac is a satellite team, but it's as if it were official. They have a lot of experience and a lot of Ducati engineers.

“Here, no. We didn't have so much experience. Luca is delighted with the 2022 Desmosedici, because the bike is going very well and has been improved in some aspects.

“I think a similar situation [to that of Gresini’s in 2022] can be replicated.

“The change from the 2021 to the 2022 Ducati was very big. Between the 2022 and the 2023, the bike changes almost nothing.”

Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team

Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Salucci also heaped praise on Bezzecchi who he says is “a pure talent”, but urged him to “find a way to manage the weekends a little better” as he “sometimes gets too nervous, too tense”.

The team boss also revealed Rossi, who is embarking on a GT World Challenge Europe campaign with WRT for a second year, will make his first MotoGP visit of the season at the Spanish GP at the end of April.

“He always trains with the Academy kids when he can, but he has to keep his commitments in this new phase of his life,” Salucci said of Rossi.

“And at home he likes to be with his family. Whenever he can he comes to the races and, in fact, he will come to Jerez.

“He is very involved with the Academy project which, in fact, is his project. If Valentino wasn't involved in MotoGP we would close the team; I have no need to be here.

“I miss Vale. At home I see him every day, but here [in the paddock] I miss him, because we have been together for 25 years.”

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