The academy was established with the aim of nurturing and developing the talents of young Italian motorcycle riders and is only open to Italian riders.
Not all athletes from the VR46 Riders Academy belong to Rossi’s Moto3 or Moto2 team.
Sky Racing Team VR46 has a Moto3 and Moto2 team, with only two spots available for riders in each team.
There are 11 academy riders in total across all classes of MotoGP.
Two of those riders are now racing against Rossi himself in the MotoGP.
As the MotoGP approaches the end of the 2020 season, I had the opportunity to interview Celestino Vietti and Andrea Migno from Rossi’s Sky Racing Team VR46 Moto3 team.
What’s clear between VR46 Riders Academy riders is their camaraderie.
While some teammates are “friends”, MotoGP riders often naturally see their teammate as just another rival on the circuit.
No doubt, VR46 Riders Academy riders want to win on the track, but the word “rival” doesn’t seem to exist in their vocabulary.
Well, at least this is the case for Vietti and Migno.
When I asked each rider about their relationship as teammates at Sky Racing, they both responded with nothing but kind words for each other.
“When they told me Mig would be on the team in 2020…I was one of happiest people in the world,” Vietti said.
“We’re a great squad and I’m confident we can achieve important results together.”
Migno added: “We’re friends, then teammates and, last but not least, riders.”
VR46 Riders Academy riders are famously known to train at Rossi’s dirt bike track in Tavullia, in the central Italian region of Le Marche, which allows riders to develop their sliding and throttling abilities.
Migno described the track and experience in two words: “amazing” and “awesome”.
He said the riders who are the hardest to beat include Franco Morbidelli and Luca Marini.
“They’re really fast,” he said.
“Vale too; it’s a real battle!”
Vietti had a similar response: “Every time is an incredible fight with all of them.”
“Franco, Vale, Luca are the fastest, but Mig and [Stefano] Manzi are strong too,” he added.
“For sure I have to mention Pecco [Bagnaia].
“They’re all really fast and the level is higher and higher every time.”
Each December, Rossi holds the famous 100 km of Champions event at the ranch, where academy riders pair up, competing in a 50-lap relay.
Last year, Migno and MotoGP rider, Franco Morbidelli almost took the win.
“During the famous 100 km del Ranch, I was together with Franco and we fought till the last corner with Vale and Luca for the victory,” Migno said.
“It was stunning!”
Many young Italian riders would dream of being a part of the VR46 Riders Academy and flying under Rossi’s wing.
And it’s clear that these two are doing exactly that.
“I’m a lucky rider,” Migno concluded.
“I can train with the best rider in the world, in the history of motorcycling.
“He’s a role model for all of us, and not only on the track.”