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Marco Bezzecchi enlarges the legend of Valentino Rossi in MotoGP | Motorcycling | Sports

Valentino Rossi’s flame is still very much alive in MotoGP. Through his protégés, the talents he has trained and advised on his ranch in Tavullia for years, the winner of nine world championships can continue celebrating victories from his home sofa. Marco Bezzecchi (Rimini, Italy; 24 years old), intractable in the rain at Termas de Río Hondo, gave a recital at the Argentine GP to become the third driver from the ’46 academy -after Franco Morbidelli and Pecco Bagnaia- who manages to win a race in the premier class. To round off the day, he placed himself as the leader of the drivers’ championship and also put his satellite Ducati, precisely owned by The doctorfounder of the Mooney VR46 team, for which the boy competes, at the top of the team table.

Standing on the same podium where his idol and mentor wore the Maradona 10 shirt in 2015, one of the iconic images of the Valentino phenomenon, the boy sang the Italian anthem at the top of his lungs alongside Uccio Salucci, the close friend who He accompanied the legend throughout his career and now he is the boss of Mooney, also a first-time MotoGP winner. The organizers, very clever, gave Bez an albiceleste shirt to repeat the stamp after the prosecco ceremony. “I want to thank the entire VR46 Riders Academy, all my friends and my family,” the winner commented ecstatically in the parc fermé. “I am delighted, very happy. Today I woke up with a strange feeling, I knew I could go fast, but not that fast. I was scared with the wet conditions, so I have been talking to the bike to stay focused, it has been very difficult”, he declared. And the stamp reminded of that Valentino who used to talk to his motorcycle.

Best rookie last year in his debut in the category, Bezzecchi is an engine patient who loves to mess around in the workshop when he is not competing on the track. He is fast and meticulous even with a Rubik’s cube, which he completes in less than a minute without ruffling his Maradonian locks. Although he didn’t win any titles on his way to MotoGP, his constant learning from Rossi has made him one of the most watched talents on the grid. “Many people see him as the future. He drives hard, he is very competitive and he has that winning mentality that will make the results come alone ”, Johan Stigefelt, director of development of the academy, assessed last year.

Bagnaia slip

In Argentina, the Fratelli d’Italia sounded twice in a new Ducati plenary session on the podium, the 28th consecutive time that they have placed at least one of their machines among the top three. Johann Zarco, from Pramac, and Àlex, Márquez, from Gresini, again without reservations in the melee with Pecco Bagnaia, completed the ceremony in the rain and fog on the Termense track. The current world champion, who on Saturday beat the driver from Cervera and then threw a dart at him — “I found a driver who crossed my path, he was going against me” – slipped on lap 18 when he was running second and He reaped his first zero of the course. The number one, who had the nerve to keep his hand on the clutch in the middle of the fall to avoid stalling the bike, was able to get up and cross the finish line in sixteenth place. But it did him little good. And he lost the leadership of the general.

The youngest of the Márquez Alentà, fine and cerebral in the rain, celebrated his third podium in the premier class almost two and a half years later, in what is already his best start to the course in his four seasons in the elite. “It’s fantastic to be on the podium after Aragón 2020, it’s been a long time. I am enjoying it with the team, they are incredible people. We have a great bike and we are going to continue working and having fun, because even better things can come ”, he warns. Fourth in the World Championship after two Grands Prix, the 26-year-old pilot acknowledged that he thinks big after demonstrating his personality and rhythm in another intense give and take with his theoretical leader.

“At Ducati we are all the same,” he declared on Saturday after putting Bagnaia’s bike on more than one occasion during the sprint race, although he finally settled for fifth. The duel was repeated yesterday and after a couple of passes he followed the same script until Pecco’s mistake left him free in second position. Zarco ripped off his stickers on the last lap, an overtaking that did not sour a podium that fills him with motivation. “I trusted myself, as always, but to start being so solid I did not expect it. You have to remain constant, with this evolution, ”he says after a round weekend. First pole in MotoGP, a fifth on Saturday and a podium on Sunday without having the bike still under control.

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