Ducati ‘very close’ to VR46 MotoGP deal

Luca Marini on a VR46-backed Esponsorama Ducati. Picture: MotoGP.com

Paolo Ciabatti has affirmed that Ducati is poised to ink a deal to supply Valentino Rossi’s MotoGP team next year.

Rossi himself said on the eve of this weekend’s German Grand Prix that an announcement on Team VR46’s bikes is likely next week, in the lead-up to the Dutch TT, which Ciabatti has also backed up.

“I think we are very close to reaching an agreement, to be honest,” said Ducati Corse’s sporting director on the television world feed during Friday practice at the Sachsenring.

“I think probably before Assen, you can expect some kind of announcement.

“I hope everything goes right in the last few days and we can make it public.”

An agreement would mean eight full-time Ducati entries on the grid in 2022, the others being the Bologna marque’s own, Pramac Racing’s, and Gresini Racing’s.

The latter outfit, current Aprilia’s factory team, announced this week which bikes it will field next year, and that they will be piloted by Fabio Di Giannantonio and Enea Bastianini.

The Ducati Lenovo Team will continue to run Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia, and Pramac also carries a stable line-up duo into 2022, namely Johann Zarco and Jorge Martin.

VR46 Academy rider Luca Marini has been placed at Esponsorama Racing for this, his rookie MotoGP season and will remain in the premier class at The Doctor’s own team.

There is no firm word yet on Marini’s future team-mate, but current VR46 Moto2 rider Marco Bezzecchi is “at the top of the list”, says Rossi.

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