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It was a proud moment for Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. and the VR46 Riders Academy to see the third Yamaha VR46 Master Camp kick off yesterday at the heart of motorcycle racing, on the Adriatic coast.
The first day of the third programme gave the riders the opportunity to warm-up for the many activities that are to follow over the next few days. During their morning gym session, Fisio Gym instructor Carlo Casabianca introduced the young talents to exercises that are beneficial to the movability, the stretch and the strength of their muscles.
As the weather was perfect, the students soon decided to resume the rest of their work-out outside with VR46 Riders Academy‘s Moto2 rider Luca Marini and Moto3 rider Andrea Migno at a running track. They gradually upped the pace, but were careful leave something in the tank for yesterday‘s main event.
Before heading to the Motor Ranch, the riders had to ’refuel‘. A nice meal at the Bar, Ristorante e Pizzeria Da Rossi in Tavullia was just the ticket. Rosemary potato wedges and rice, followed by ice cream gave the riders renewed energy.
When the young riders arrived at the Motor Ranch, three-time English Flat Track Champion and two-time American and European Flat Track Champion, Marco Belli, was waiting for them. (You can read more about Belli‘s involvement with the VR46 Motor Ranch in Yamaha VR46‘s second blog entry).
He warmly greeted the students and presented them their Master Camp YZ250F bikes. He rode in front of them during the first couple of laps, to get the youngsters familiarized with the track lay-out, before their ridings skills were put to the test at the oval part of the track. The riders practised their dirt bike control, slaloming between traffic cones and sliding through the corners. Belli was thoroughly impressed by both the students' eagerness to learn as well as their rapid improvements throughout the first session: “This first day was just to understand the level of the riders and we completed a simple programme to assess them”, explained Belli. “Now we can work a bit more on their personal skills. The good thing about the Master Camp is that it is just 6 people, so I have time to work with each rider on his individual needs.
“When it comes to dirt bike racing, these riders started on a bit of a higher level compared to the previous group. All these guys seem to be more comfortable on this kind of dirt and they have a good feeling with the bike and a good sense of what the bike is doing, so they can anticipate what will happen next.
“They found one particular exercise very strange: when I asked them to ride with one hand. At the end, they understood how good this practice is, because they are obliged to work with the lower half of the body instead of with their arms. I could see them think “Oh my God” at the start, but later it was all good.”
The Master Camp rider that was most outspoken about his excitement was Casas. Yesterday‘s morning session was right up his street as exercise and health are topics of interest to him. He aspires to study sports medicine and help at the track side as a trainer or medical assistant, should he ever have to stop his career as a rider. You can get to know this Master Camp‘s “Mr. Positive” in the Rider Introduction Video and read his take on the fitness class in his Yamaha VR46 Master Camp blog entry.
Kouichi Tsuji: "The objective from Yamaha is to bring its racing endeavours to the next step, not just on a short-time basis but also in the long term. The company has developed a plan to help young riders make that next step in their careers and become the stars of the future. Our racing objectives are branding, development technology as well as supporting talent all over the world. The Master Camp is an important step in achieving our goals. However, to clarify, we don‘t use this as an opportunity to assess the skills of the riders, that‘s not how we measure the programme's success. Rather, it‘s a unique and excellent way to motivate Yamaha‘s promising talents. There is no better place in the world to train than with Valentino Rossi and the VR46 Riders Academy. The Master Camp motivates the riders to make the next step. Possibly in the future we want to give young Yamaha riders all over the world this opportunity. For this Master Camp students, we want to give them a first impression of what it‘s like to be riding on a World Championship level, in the hope they will reach their goal of one day entering in the MotoGP class. The bLU cRU programme is also a valuable addition to Yamaha‘s efforts to support young talent. When riders become a bLU cRU member, they get big opportunities as they receive the support and care from Yamaha and the other bLU cRU riders."
Peerapong Boonlert: "Yesterday was a really good day for me. I‘m so happy that I‘m here! I want to thank Yamaha Motor Thailand for making this possible. Yesterday we had the opportunity to learn from Marco Belli, and I gained a lot of experience during that class. I will keep the skills I picked up yesterday to use them back home where I will develop myself for the future."
Anngi Setiawan: "I am very happy! I was so surprised how beautiful and professional the facilities are for riders here. This is so incredible for me, because in Indonesia we have nothing that compares to it. I‘m very happy to have been given this experience, because I‘m sure this will help me a lot in the rest of my career."
Shota Ite: "Yesterday‘s programme was a very nice experience. The Motor Ranch was really beautiful and I enjoyed the time that we spent there a lot. I want to put the skills that I learned and the experiences I gained into practice on the road race tracks with my motorcycle. It was a lot of fun!"
Muhammad Akid Bin Aziz: "I am very happy to have been given this experience. It was all very new for me, because I never experienced riding on a flat track before. It was a little bit of a challenge at first, but I‘m sure these new skills will put me in a position where I can make more of my future as a racer."
Brandon Demmery: "It was a great moment to ride at the Motor Ranch yesterday with Marco Belli, watching him ride and learning from him. It was an amazing experience and good fun to go out there and practise with the boys! We rubbed elbows at a few occasions, so we had a good time and I‘m looking forward to today, when I can explore some more options for my training."
Tomas Casas: "It was a great experience to ride at the Motor Ranch, if not better than I expected. It‘s even more fun than what it looks like and it‘s an absolute pleasure to ride there. A huge thank you to Yamaha and VR46 for giving us this opportunity, allowing us to ride somewhere that looks like a lot of fun and that also Valentino himself enjoys a lot."