Valentino Rossi is renowned for nurturing young talent in motorcycle racing with the VR46 Riders Academy, which now runs teams in Moto3 and Moto2. Two of his academy riders, Francesco Bagnaia and Franco Morbidelli, will ride in the premier class in 2019. Whilst the academy focuses on Italian riders, the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp runs for young riders from all around the world.
Since the camp was created in 2016, 28 riders have taken part – mostly teenagers – and emerging talent has been Apiwath Wongthananon from Thailand, now racing in the CEV Moto3 Junior World Championship. Indonesian rider Galang Hendra Pratama also made progress following his participation in the camp, now competing in the World Supersport 300 series.
The camp students must be put forward by Yamaha distributors for their promising talents, and a place on the Master Camp cannot be bought or applied for. In this sixth edition of the camp it was Muhammad Aiman Bin Tahiruddin, Nazirul Izzat Bin Muhammad Bahauddin, Muhammad Faerozi Toreqottullah and Shota Yokoyama given the opportunity of a lifetime.
The camp runs for five days, during which the students ride in a number of different racing disciplines on various Yamaha bikes to gain experience. They are coached by staff at the academy as well as some of the VR46 Academy riders, with Andrea Migno and Niccolò Antonelli taking part in specific activities to help the students.
On the 4th day of the camp, the students were surprised by a visit from Rossi himself, who was interested to know of their experience over the past few days. On the 5th and final day, they received a tour of the VR46 headquarters and took part in a graduation ceremony to end the camp. The skills and experience they have gained through this initiative will hopefully enable them to improve their riding at home and progress to higher levels.
“It was great that I was able to meet with the guys from the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp! The programme is supposed to be fun and make them enjoy riding the bike even more, but it‘s also very busy. Especially the first three days go by very fast, because they meet new people – the staff and the VR46 Academy riders – and experience a lot of different tracks, bikes and types of racing.” said Rossi.
“This week was a chance for them to learn and try many new things and it should give them an idea of the work and dedication it takes to become professionals like the VR46 Academy riders. I know that the students have been working hard and I think they really enjoyed it.
“I heard only positive things from the training staff, so I‘m very happy with the results of this edition of the Master Camp. Unfortunately, the guys are leaving now they have completed Day 5, their last day with us. For sure they are sad to go, but I‘m certain they will enjoy thinking back to these day and will have many stories to tell. I think the guys have learned a lot and are ready to try to improve their training and riding at home.”