The AGV Athletes
Legend has it that Valentino was just two years old when first rode a minimoto fitted with stabilisers to keep it upright. His father was a rider and Valentino followed in his footsteps, had racing in his DNA and dreamed of Formula One. He rode for Aprilia in the 125 World Championship series and was an immediate success. He adopted the nickname of Rossifumi because Norifumi Abe was his hero. Right from the start he wanted the number 46, the same as his father Graziano had used. In 1997 he won the World title hands down: 11 wins, fabulous lines, dressing up on the podium, the inflatable "Claudia Schiffer" doll at Mugello, a pretend visit to a mobile lavatory during his lap of honour in Spain. Valentino was already a star. He moved up to 250 and became Valentinik. The youngest ever champion in the history of the 250 class. He moved up to 500 and quite simply became a phenomenon. After winning his second World Championship title, he then became the "Doctor". In 2002, his debut year in MotoGP, he won his fourth world title. 2003 was even better. His biggest rival was Sete Gibernau from the Gresini team but Rossi prevailed. Valentino then moved to Yamaha, and started winning immediately. Welkom, South Africa, 18 April 2004. A page out of history.
There followed a further equally successful 7 years in which he won 4 more World titles (2004, 2005, 2008 and 2009), 1 second place (2006) and 2 thirds (2007 and 2010). In 2011 he switched to the Italian Ducati team. Valentino Rossi is the only rider in history to have won the World Championship series in 4 different classes: 125 (1), 250 (1), 500 (1) and MotoGP (6). In 2013 he returns to race alongside Yamaha, earning the victory in the Assen competition. The following year, the season is marked by two more victories, allowing him to conquer the second place in the World Championship.
Extract from an article by: Nico Cereghini
Pol Espargaró made his debut as a wild card in the 125cc class at fifteen years of age (the minimum age limit). The very next year, 2007, he took his first podium riding an Aprilia, but his biggest step up was in 2011 when he moved to Moto2. In 2013 he graduates from Moto2 as world champion, to enter MotoGP the following year on a Yamaha of the Tech3 team and reaching sixth place in the World Championship during his first year in the premier class.
The Australian rider had already begun cultivating his passion for the two wheel world when he was just 5 years of age and, at 10, won his first national dirt-track title. In 2009, Jack changed to road racing taking part first in the Australian Championship series and the next year in the Spanish and German series where, in 2011, he became the IDM 125 Champion. The same year, he also took part in several races as the wildcard entry. In 2012, he made his debut in the World Championship series and managed increasingly good finishing positions until finishing second in the Moto3 series in 2014 with Aki Ajo's team on a factory KTM. For the 2015 season, Jack will race in the premier class with Lucio Cecchinello's team riding an RC213V Open and thus becoming the first Moto3 rider to race in the premier class without having first spent at least one season in the Moto2 category.
Luis began riding motorbikes when he was still a child. He entered his first race at eight years of age and immediately won the Supermotard Balearic 50cc Championship. He started his career in the 125 class of the World Championship series 2009 riding as a wild card with Honda in the Spanish and Catalunya GPs. In the 2013 World Championship Moto3 2013 series, he led from the first race but lost the title due to two unfortunate falls. 2014 sees him earn an eighth place during the Moto2 debut on the Kalex of the Pons HP40 team.
Originally from Rome, Franco moved to Tavullia where he has an exceptional mentor: Valentino Rossi. Franco is a member of the VR46 Riders Academy along with Romano Fenati, Francesco Bagnaia, Luca Marini and Andrea Migno. He won the European Superstock 600 series and was offered a place in Moto2 with the Italtrans team.
He starts making himself noticed in the Minimoto and MiniGP categories, becoming European champion in the latter in 2009. In 2010 he takes part in the 125 preGP Mediterranean championship, finishing in second place. In 2011 and 2012 he takes part in the CEV championship, reaching third final place, first in the 125 class and then in the Moto3 class. He begins in the world motorcycle championship in 2013 in Moto3 with the Italia team. In 2014 he becomes part of the newly born SKY Racing Team VR46, at the saddle of a KTM RC 250 GP with number 21. His best result is a fourth place in France, and he finished the season in 16th place.
Born in 1996, Romano started his career by racing minimotos at the age of seven. In just a few years he demonstrated his talent in the CIV and CEV Championships before taking part in Moto3 in 2012 with Team Italia FMI. On his debut in the World Championship series, he came second at Doha and first at Jerez and attracted the attention of all the fans. In 2013 he races with Team Italia while in 2014 Romano switches to Sky - VR46, dominating four GPs and finishing fifth in the world ranking during his first year with KTM.
He starts competing in 2010, obtaining sixth place in the 125GP Honda Trophy. In 2011 he moves to the Red Bull Rookies Cup, obtaining some wild cards in the CEV, ending in eight place in the Moto3 category in 2013. During the same year he competes in the Moto3 class of the world championship, the Catalan motorcycle Grand Prix and the Czech Republic motorcycle Grand Prix, as wild card on an FTR. In 2014 he becomes part of the Riders Academy, competing in the CEV championship, where he finishes in seventh place; starting from the British motorcycle Grand Prix he also competes in the Moto3 world championship with Kalex, in place of Arthur Sissis.
Following the footsteps of his father, Igor Antonelli, he starts competing at the very young age of 8, becoming first regional champion, and then European champion runner up in 2005. In 2007 he has an outstanding year, winning all the levels of the Junior B category, including the world level. In 2010 he competes in the Rookies Cup and at the same time in the Italian Roadrace Championship (CIV), which he succeeds in winning the following year. His starts his adventure in Moto3 with the Gresini team in 2012, ending his first year in 14th position. In 2013 and 2014 he competes for the same team, and in 2014 he reaches pole position in Valencia, and a fifth place in the Netherlands.
Thomas rode a motorbike for the first time at 6 years of age. It was a Yamaha PW50 and 6 years later he made his debut in the Motard category riding a Derbi 50. In 2002 he moved up to the 125 class riding a Husqvarna for the French importer SIMA and, in 2004, aged 16, he moved up again to 450 and entered the S2 World Championship series. Until 2009, he rode with Husqvarna with whom he won the SuperMoto of Nations and the French Championship in 2007. In 2010 he moved to TM which began with a long series of wins including an S1 World Title, the Italian Championship and the SuperMoto of Nations. He won his second S1 World Title in 2012 and by 2013 had claimed a host of podium finishes in various races. In 2014 he won his third World Title.
Isle of Man TT
Guy raced on a track for the first time at 16 years of age on his father's BSA. To achieve his dream of being a professional rider, he worked extremely hard. He became a truck fitter for Volvo and had 2 jobs at the same time. At 18, Guy bought a CBR 600 and started racing in every event he could manage. In 2002, after racing in the Scarborough ‘Cock of the North’ event, he decided to concentrate on road races. Two years later he was at the Tourist Trophy with a GSXR1000 that he had built himself. Since then, he has raced in every TT, has finished on the podium 13 times and survived a horrific accident in 2010. He has also raced in the North West 200 many times where he has always been one of the most competitive, winning riders. Apart from racing bikes, Guy races anything that gives him that thrill that only speed can offer. Downhill cycling is his favourite discipline. His favourite expression? “MEGA!”
Conor was born on the Isle of Man in 1986 and has dedicated his career to the Tourist Trophy. In 2009, thanks to a run of incredible wins, he became the “man to beat”. During the season he finished on the podium twice, became the first Manxman to set an average speed of over 130 mph and recorded Top 10 finishes in the Supersport Junior TT race and Superstock race. In 2010 he had a huge accident when his Yamaha lost grip on a fast bend and he was flung through the air for a considerable distance. One year later he was back racing. In 2014 he signed with Jackson Racing Honda for the Supersport 600 category.
After making his name at races like the Virgin R6 Cup, James tried his hand at the TT for the first time in 2008. His debut was highly encouraging with an excellent ninth place and he was awarded the Newcomers Trophy. In the seasons that followed James continued to improve, and in 2012 he took his first podium finish in the Lightweight TT race. 2013 was his best year when with the Quattro Plant Kawasaki team, he won the Lightweight and set a new record by lapping the course in 19 minutes flat. He also did well in the Senior TT by taking a fourth place in 2013 and a fifth place in 2014.
The German Maximilian Nagl rode his first motocross bike at five years of age and won his first race at eight. His first win in MX1 was in 2008 and in 2009 he came second in the World Championship series behind his KTM team mate Tony Cairoli. In 2012, he won the Motocross of Nations as part of the German team. From 2015 he is the lead rider in the Red Bull IceOne Husqvarna Factory Racing team owned by Kimi Raikkonen, the official team of the Austrian company.
Five times World Champion in the Australian Junior series, Todd made his debut in Motocross World Championship series in 2014 with the Red Bull IceOne team and ended the season in seventh place. In 2015 his team mates are again Max Nagl and Nathan Watson in the IceOne team.
Born in Nottingham in 1994, Nathan was a major force in British competition right from an early age. His first significant success was in 2009 when he won the Red Bull Pro Nationals BW 85 class. In 2012 he moved to MX2 riding a KTM then switched to Husqvarna in 2014 when he made his debut in MX1. His team mates are Max Nagl and Todd Waters in the Red Bull IceOne team.
Davide Soreca from San Remo first came to public notice in 2014 when, aged just 19, he won the Enduro World Championship series in the EY class riding a Yamaha in Team Boano. In 2015 his team mate in Team Boano is the other AGV rider, Deny Philippaerts.
Brother of the former motocross World Champion, David Philippaerts, Deny was born in Italy to a Belgian family with a long tradition of motocross. He has been racing in the Enduro World Championship since 2011, and his best result to date was sixth place overall in 2013. He has been riding for Team Boano since his debut and his team mate is Davide Soreca.