Valentino Rossi’s VR46 team will use Ducati bikes in their first MotoGP season, just as weeks of rumors have suggested. Ducati will expand to eight bikes to accommodate it.
It has also been confirmed Luca Marini, Rossi’s half-brother, will ride for the team after a difficult but modestly successful rookie season thus far, with the Italian scoring points in five of the last six races. Moto2 race winner Marco Bezzecchi is expected to make the leap to MotoGP alongside.
The announcement means the MotoGP grid is one step closer to being set next season, with only Petronas SRT yet to announce their bikes, though it seems likely they will stay with Yamaha. Only Aprilia, Tech3, and Petronas, along with VR46, have riders to announce.
Rossi is expected to retire from MotoGP competition at the close of the season, with an announcement expected in the next 14 days. The VR46 team will use Desmosedici bikes until the end of 2024, dousing rumors the deal was a stop-gap for a move to Suzuki machinery.
“We are very pleased to have reached this agreement with VR46 for the next three years,” Luigi Dell’Igna, Ducati boss, said.
“The VR46 Riders Academy has always worked seriously and with great professionalism, giving many riders the opportunity to gain experience in Moto2 and Moto3, and today it can be proud to have brought three very talented young riders to MotoGP.”
“VR46 has also shown that it knows how to manage its Team in Moto3 and Moto2 with competence and success and therefore we will strive to provide maximum technical support to their new Team in MotoGP, convinced that in VR46 we have found an ambitious and motivated partner like us, with the common goal of obtaining great results together.”
It is yet unknown what spec of Ducati the VR46 team will get. Ducati Corse and Pramac will use the GP22, with Gresini using the GP21. VR46 is likely to get the year-old version alongside Gresini.