Valentino Rossi-supported Sky Racing Team VR46 make the leap into Moto2™ for the first time in 2017, with Moto3™ race winner and former title challenger Francesco Bagnaia joined by compatriot Stefano Manzi at the helm of Kalex machinery in the team’s maiden campaign.
The outfit launched their 2017 effort in Milan alongside the Moto3™ project, with spectacular new liveries revealed for the coming season taking inspiration from those of the nineties.
Bagnaia, who won two Moto3™ races in 2016 and was rewarded with a brief MotoGP™ test ride at the post-race test following the season finale in Valencia, gets a new teammate as he moves up to Moto2™ in the form of fellow Italian Stefano Manzi. Manzi has a podium in the FIM CEV Repsol Moto3™ Junior World Championship and is a race winner in the Red Bull Rookies Cup; making the step up to Moto2™ after outgrowing the lightweight class bikes.
Francesco Bagnaia: "I'm quite calm and I'm trying to stay relaxed. It's a big step where the category is difficult and the bike is a lot heavier. I'm happy with the bike and the team - with a good team you can do much better. This has been a good year and I can't wait to get started. We'll work hard to get ourselves up into the top five positions."
Stefano Manzi: "I have a bike better physically adapted to me, but it's different, heavier and a longer race to manage. We've prepared well in the gym and I feel ready. In this category it's also important to be conscious of the development of the bike."
Pablo Nieto, Team Manager: "With these guys I feel more like a brother to them. You have to get to know all four of our riders - because each is different."