It's official, folks! The announcement is finally out. Valentino Rossi's MotoGP team is set to start in 2022 following the announcement of the Aramco Racing Team VR46 signing a three-year deal with Ducati. This contract confirms a total of eight Ducati Desmosedici GP bikes on the grid from 2022 to 2024. Team VR46 itself has signed a five-year contract with Dorna Sports to race in the premier class.
The current Team Manager for the SKY Racing Team VR46 in Moto2 and Moto3, Pablo Nieto, will lead the VR46 MotoGP campaign that's hugely backed by the partnership with Tanal Entertainment Sport & Media as well as Saudi Aramco. No official announcements of the riders just yet, but Luca Marini (Rossi's stepbrother) will most likely be racing alongside another VR46 Academy rider, Marco Bezzecchi (unless Rossi surprises everyone by announcing his switch to competing in his own team).
Interestingly enough, a statement by HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al Saud is kind of screwing with everyone's mind when talking about Rossi's future in active racing. He stated that “It would be great for me that Valentino Rossi can compete in the next few years as a pilot of our Aramco Racing Team VR46 together with his brother Luca Marini who already competes this year with the sponsorship of our brands KSA New Cities, MAIC Technologies, TANAL Entertainment Sport & Media."
According to Alessio Salucci, VR46 Riders Academy, "We are happy to announce that in 2022 we will race in MotoGP with a team of two riders in the colours of the VR46. A journey that began a little over eight years ago with the birth of the VR46 Riders Academy, a beautiful adventure shared with Sky, a long, demanding journey, but full of satisfactions and which makes us very proud. This milestone has a truly unique meaning, but it is not an arrival point."
👋 Hey there, it’s not a double vision! We’ll need a bigger garage soon 💥😍
— Sky Racing Team VR46 (@SkyRacingTeam) June 24, 2021
Luigi Dall’Igna, Ducati Corse General Manager, stated, “We are very pleased to have reached this agreement with VR46 for the next three years. Their Academy has always worked seriously and with great professionalism, giving many riders the opportunity to gain experience in Moto2 and Moto3, and today they can be proud to have brought three young riders of great talent. VR46 has also shown that it is able to competently manage a successful team in Moto3 and Moto2 and therefore we will strive to provide the maximum technical support to their new team in MotoGP, convinced they have found in VR46 an ambitious and motivated partner like us, with a common goal to achieve great results together."