The third day of the 9th Yamaha VR46 Master Camp was especially designed to let the riders further develop the techniques they’ve learned so far, combining all the practical skills they gained in the past two days in a Soft Cross and MiniGP session.
Tavullia (Italy), 21st August 2021
The third-day programme of the 9th Yamaha VR46 Master Camp was completely filled with activities that had the five riders return to Valentino Rossi’s Motor Ranch in the morning and finish the day off with a riding session at the Jeepers Park MiniGP track with VR46 Riders Academy’s Marco Bezzecchi.

Unai Orradre (aged 17, from Spain), Bahattin Sofuoglu (aged 18, from Turkey), Humberto “Turquinho” Maier (aged 15, from Brazil), Fenton Harrison Seabright (aged 19, from the UK), and Iker Garcia Abella (aged 17, from Spain) were keen to step aboard the five YZ125 bikes they found lined up there. The coach of the day, Bryan Toccaceli, was very pleased with their professionalism.

“Today we focused specifically on riding techniques and minimising risks while practising soft cross, and also recognising obstacles. For beginners it’s important to minimise any potential damage. Having the right body position is an important starting point, so that was what we worked on. But you could tell that most of these guys already had experience, and the ones that didn’t improved the most during this class.

“The Soft Cross circuit at the VR46 Master Camp has been renewed since the previous edition of the Master Camp. It’s especially designed for road racers to enhance their skills. It's different from a normal motocross track, it’s very well prepared and thought out. Of course, Soft Cross remains risky, but at this track it’s less risky.”

After the morning session at the VR46 Motor Ranch, the five students’ efforts were rewarded with a lunch at the Ristorante e Pizzeria da Rossi in Tavullia. Then riders went straight back to the VR46 Motor Ranch for their second and final MotoGP eSport session with Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Lorenzo Daretti (aka Trastevere73). Having bestowed all his wisdom upon the five students in the earlier 10-minute practice sessions, the double MotoGP eSport World Champion and double Vice-Champion decided the riders were ready for their first official eSport Round, consisting of two races, one held in Misano and the other in Catalunya. It was a thrilling and at times chaotic spectacle that resulted in Turquinho taking the glory, ahead of Orradre, with Sofuoglu taking third.

“They did a really good job today. All the guys made a big step forward. They all went one second faster than during the first session, and one rider even two seconds. This was our goal. The first session was to give them information and tips, and the second session was to put them into practice.

“They are fast and have a clean riding style. They put their knowledge from racing into playing the game. I could see that they were following the right race lines during the Day 3 session. Turquinho was especially fast, if he played more, maybe he would have a chance to enter the MotoGP eSport championship.

“Proper professional gaming gear, like MSI Gaming's, is really important when you want to make that step up though. You are playing at the top level so the hardware you’re using should also be top-level. A powerful PC helps because it lets you ride more smoothly, and then you can go faster. You also want to buy a good monitor with a lot of Hertz, because it helps to ride better as well. It is the combination of the two that makes you ride smoother. Another important item is a good gaming chair. Your body position has to be good, else you might suffer after long training sessions.”

The riders couldn’t soak up the MotoGP eSport buzz for too long. Soon the young hopefuls had to rush to their next appointment at the Jeepers MiniGP Park. They hopped into their van and hurried to the MiniGP track, where five YZ85s waited. The riders were soon asked to join a briefing on the track’s lay-out with instructor Marco Bezzecchi before changing into their leathers and giving it a try for themselves.

The riders did few laps riding behind Bezzecchi and quickly got the hang of it. Then their coach started riding behind them to watch their riding styles. The fun came during a couple of free practice runs and ultimately a MiniGP race. Sofuoglu finished first, ahead of Orradre in second, and Seabright in third place.

The proud teacher of the day stated, “My first objective for today was for the guys to enjoy the session and improve some details of their riding style. They were able to work on and improve some things that they hadn’t been able to do before, so that is a good result in itself.

“MiniGP is a good way of training, because the bikes are so small. This puts your body in a bit of an awkward position and makes controlling the bike harder, but it’s also fun. It’s very physical, you have to put in a good bit of effort if you want to go fast.

“I was very happy about the level of these riders, and that made it also a good training session for me to ride with them.”

To relive the action of Day 3 Soft Cross activity HERE.
Unai Orradre

Unai Orradre

I already had some experience in motocross but always with four-stroke bikes, so this has been a good workout and one of my favourites. I had a lot of fun, motocross is a discipline that I like a lot, and I was really looking forward to the soft cross session. I think it has been a very positive morning. But if I was ever asked to choose between the two, I would stick with the flat track and especially here at Vale's ranch, because it is a lot of fun and a very positive discipline for us to gain speed in.

Thanks to our soft cross coach, I have learned a lot about what my position on the bike should be like, how I should corner, when I have to stand and sit, throttle control, all very positive things that will make me improve a lot for the future.

I also improved in eSport, but it is not my best discipline. I think that to be good you have to dedicate a lot of time to it, and I honestly practise it too little. Although I think it is a lot of fun, MiniGP is more my thing. I have learned a lot on Day 3, especially from Marco. He has taught me a lot, because I had an idea of what riding should be like, and he has made me change it completely. For that I am very grateful.

The truth is that I can't pick just one discipline that I liked the most. The minibikes, the motocross, the flat track, I'm liking it all a lot and I'm having a great time, so I already want to continue training ‘giving gaasssss’.
Bahattin Sofuoglu

Bahattin Sofuoglu

I didn’t have any soft cross experience before Day 3 of the Master Camp, but I had a lot of fun riding the motocross bike. I learned how to enter and exit corners correctly, how to stay on the bike, particularly when gearing up and jumping. I tried really hard and enjoyed it, especially in the latter stages. The track is like a ‘soft cross’, exactly as the name suggests. I think it’s very good for riders with little or no experience. I like that we were taught both soft cross and flat track, because they are different experiences that make us better riders.

In the late afternoon, in the MiniGP session I learned how to ride more smoothly and how to be more consistent. Again I had good fun. We’re halfway through the programme, but I couldn’t pick just one favourite part. So far, I think that all of these activities taught us a lot of things that we can use in the future.
Humberto Maier

Humberto Maier

It was my first time riding soft cross and it was very fun and very technical! I had a lot of fun and learned a lot about the right body position on the bike, but I still definitely prefer Flat Track, that’s been my favourite part so far! After Soft Cross we had the second eSport session. I always like that a lot, and on Day 3 I won the two races! After that I learned a lot about two-stroke lines and about braking and accelerating. It was a privilege to have Bezzecchi as our teacher.

Fenton Harrison Seabright

Fenton Harrison Seabright

I have done Soft Cross before, but today was a different experience from what I’m used to, and I really enjoyed it. I’m looking to do more of it sometime soon. The VR46 Motor Ranch’s MX track is actually the best track I have ever been on. It was smooth and flowing, so it was much more enjoyable, and overall, it was a great experience. Flat Track and Soft Cross are both new disciplines for me and I found them equally enjoyable. I was surprised how experiencing different types of training makes such a difference. During the soft cross training I learned the right body position on the bike for this discipline and how much this makes a difference, because it allows you to ride more smoothly.

I made some good improvements today during the eSports session and it was good fun to relax after a good morning of Soft Cross.

Later in the afternoon, on the MiniGP bike, I learnt a lot. I had never ridden a two-stroke on a kart track before, so I was learning every lap. I had gained so much more confidence by the end of the day, and it was great to get another Superpole. But, for me, the best part of the Master Camp so far are the Flat Track sessions. It has been my dream to ride at Rossi’s ranch, and it has finally come true! The other best part was being able to meet my idol.
Iker Garcia Abella

Iker Garcia Abella

I already had some Soft Cross experience before the training. This track was a lot of fun, but some turns are difficult. I used the available time to get used to riding a two-stroke. I really enjoyed it, but at the Motor Ranch the best thing is still Flat Track.

After Soft Cross, Lorenzo Daretti came for our second eSport session. I made a big improvement, I shaved off two seconds!

MiniGP bikes in the afternoon was also a lot of fun, but sadly I can’t say much about the race. I had a crash in the second lap, so that was a shame…