KTM’s fresh factory racing talent scheme structure for MXGP solidified even further for 2023 as promising youngsters Marc-Antoine Rossi and Ferruccio Zanchi were confirmed as part of the VRT KTM Factory Juniors Team.
The French crew will enter a seventh year of collaboration with KTM, and the alliance will be closer and more productive than ever thanks to VRT KTM Factory Juniors Team’s new position as the talent ‘conduit’ for the company in the international motocross pyramid.
Based near Nantes and led by Mickaël Vrignon, with former motocross and Enduro star ‘Pela’ Renet at the head of management staff, the VRT KTM Factory Juniors Team will work in European Championship competition and specifically the EMX250 category with KTM 250 SX-F machinery; the division is seen as the ‘final step’ before MX2 Grand Prix.
Marc-Antoine Rossi finished 8th in both the 2021 and 2022 EMX125 championships, both times riding the KTM 125 SX. The French 16-year-old grabbed his first moto victory and podium finish at his home round, LaCapelle Marival, in the summer of 2021 and appeared on the box again in 2022.
Like Rossi, Ferruccio Zanchi will make his debut in 2023 in EMX250 and with the KTM 250 SX-F. The Italian, also 16 years of age, has won three motos in EMX125 and registered another four top-three moto results in 2022 on the way to 7th in the standings.
As well as 2023 EMX250, Rossi and and Zanchi will be looking to gain even more experience and mileage in various domestic meetings and series in Europe, beginning already this winter and in the run-up to the new season.
Pela Renet, Team Manager: "The goal was to find young riders for the European EMX250 Championship and we worked with KTM to sign two youngsters and we are really happy with Ferruccio, a young Italian and Marc Antoine, a young Frenchman. They showed a great potential in EMX125 this season and although the transition from the 125 to the 250 is a big one they are working hard and they have a huge possibilities. For sure, the goal is to fight in front and to have the best results possible."
Mickael Vrignon, Team Owner: “Since the creation of the team in 2016, it has not stop growing and every year I try to find new solutions to keep improving. Last year, Pela started to work as trainer and this year we became the official factory junior team, and we were looking for riders with the ability to stand under our structure. Ferruccio and Marc-Antoine are two very promising riders and we can fight for good results with them. The objective has always been to form young riders to the highest level of competition and I am happy to try to reach this with KTM."
Marc-Antoine Rossi: “I am very happy to start this new adventure with the VRT KTM Factory Juniors Team in EMX250. I can’t wait to start working with all the team to prepare the season and to make the move from 125 to 250 as smooth as possible.”
Ferruccio Zanchi: “I am very happy to finally have this great opportunity to ride for KTM VRT Team in the EMX250 for the 2023 season. It was not an easy choice but I strongly believe this is the right one for my personal and professional growth. I feel really good on the KTM 250 SX-F and I really look forward to start collaborating with KTM and the VRT Team for the upcoming year. So now let's enjoy!"
Robert Jonas, KTM Head of Motorsports Offroad: “We’re really pleased with how the junior program is looking now and thanks to our work with Mickael, Pela and the whole VRT team. Marc-Antoine and Ferruccio are two riders that are on the way to professional level and have stood out for their technique and their speed in the last couple of seasons in EMX125. We believe in their capabilities, and we want to give them a chance to attempt EMX250 for 2023 and continue their progression. We think there is some real potential there and we wish the guys the best of luck through the year.”