Rossi unperturbed by latest VR46 partner no-show

Valentino Rossi. Picture: MotoGP.com

Valentino Rossi is unperturbed by the latest failure of VR46’s Saudi backers to meet a media appointment, amid ongoing mystery about the project.

Tanal Entertainment Sport & Media, the holding company of HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al Saud, failed to front a press conference last Wednesday as promised, when it would have provided details about its VR46 partnership.

It had also issued a statement on July 31 (local time, August 1 AEST) advising that a press conference would be held from the Prince’s residence “within the next few days”, and would put “special emphasis” on its involvement with Rossi’s MotoGP team.

That date also came and went without further communication from Tanal.

It continues a pattern of unusual media activity from Saudi Arabia, with Tanal itself having announced in April that VR46 would indeed be stepping up to the premier class in 2022.

Aramco was named in that release as the team’s naming rights sponsor, yet the state-controlled oil company, of which the Prince is an owner, denied knowledge of an agreement at that time.

Speaking at Silverstone, where the British Grand Prix is being held this weekend, Rossi seemed not too fazed about the latest no-show from Tanal.

“I am not the person to talk to, I am a bit busy in this period,” laughed the seven-time MotoGP champion, perhaps in reference to his impending fatherhood.

“What I know is that the project of our team is continuing, that in VR46 everyone is hard at work, but I don’t know the latest developments.

“However, we will make the team, somehow we will sort things out.”

The Prince has advised that the new date for the press conference is August 31, according to Italian outlet GPOne.com.

Rossi also expects that more will be known about the project soon.

“Let’s say that this thing as not at the top of my list of problems,” he added.

“There are some things that are difficult to understand, but out project is moving forward and this is the important thing.

“In a little while, things will be clearer.”

The soon-to-be retired MotoGP rider was 10th-fastest in Friday practice at Silverstone aboard his SRT Yamaha, an upturn in his recent form.

“Today for me was a positive day because I have quite a good feeling with the bike already from this morning,” commented Rossi after Free Practice 2.

“For the afternoon, we continued to work and it was not so bad.

“We tried to work with the hard tyre, but the hard for this afternoon was a bit too hard for this temperature because the temperature is quite low.

“At the end with the soft, I did two good laps and I am in the top 10. The feeling is quite good and I enjoyed it very much because Silverstone is a great track.

“I like the layout a lot and also with the new asphalt it’s very fun to ride the MotoGP bike here.

“Today was cold, but was dry, which is already great for Silverstone and we hope that the weather and the weekend continues like this.”

Free Practice 3 starts tonight at 18:55 AEST, followed later in the evening by FP4, Qualifying 1, and Q2.

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