MotoGP: Rossi confidante Uccio ‘the atmosphere in the team is fantastic’

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With long-time teammate and nemesis in the Movistar Yamaha garage Jorge Lorenzo departed from Valentino Rossi’s side for the 2017 MotoGP season, the nine-time world champion may well have jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire with the arrival of Maverick Viñales into the team.

But while the relationship with Lorenzo was often troubled, Rossi has been keen to play up just how well he’s been getting on so far with his new teammate – and his sentiments on the relationship between them have been echoed by the man that knows him best, close friend and advisor Uccio Salucci.

But speaking to MCN at Monza, Rossi’s childhood friend says that while it may be more relaxed in the garage for now, the arrival of the 21-year-old won’t make life any easier for the 37-year old nine-time champion as he seeks to add a tenth crown.

“The atmosphere is fantastic in the team, now that Lorenzo is gone and Viñales has arrived. He’s very fast and very young, but the atmosphere is great. The bike needs to improve a little, but I hope that there’s big potential there.

“We’ll see how it changes Vale, because Lorenzo was very strong and had a lot of experience. Maverick maybe needs a year to understand, I hope. He’s very fast over one lap, but we’ll see how he does during the race. He’s fifteen years less than Vale though; maybe that’s too big a challenge!”

And while many are expecting to see Rossi’s career in the premiere class end with his current contract at the 2018 season, the boss of the VR46 Riders’ Academy admits that you can never say never when it comes to Valentino Rossi.

“We’re 37 years old, and for sure we need to stop in the next two years – but with Valentino you never know. It depends if he’s fast or not, but if he continues like this season why should he stop? If he needs to stop now, then there are another 22 riders who were behind him who also need to stop!”

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer