Luca Marini to join brother Valentino Rossi on 2021 MotoGP grid

Luca Marini will share track space with his brother Valentino Rossi for the first time in his GP career after landing a MotoGP promotion for 2021

Luca Marini - Sky Italia VR46 Moto2

Luca Marini has officially secured the penultimate available seat on the 2021 MotoGP World Championship grid after he and Moto2 rival Enea Bastianini were formally confirmed with Esponsorama Avintia Ducati.

The Italian pair - who together with Sam Lowes and Marco Bezzecchi are embroiled in a tightly-contested Moto2 championship battle with only three races to go - have been strongly linked with the second string satellite Ducati effort in recent weeks.

While Bastianini all but confirmed his place by announcing a Ducati MotoGP deal in September without divulging exactly which team, Marini entered the fray when it emerged Tito Rabat - whose contract was set to run until the end of 2021 - raised doubts with regards to his future in the series.

With Rossi - Marini’s half-brother - also becoming involved in negotiations with Avintia Racing, the signing means the pair will share the same track space for the first time in their GP careers.

“Getting to MotoGP is the dream that every rider has had since childhood," Marini said. Having this great opportunity and being able to share it with Sky Racing Team VR46, Esponsorama Racing and Ducati is even better.

"In these years with the team I have accumulated a lot of experience, I have grown, and I have achieved the first important results. We are in a crucial phase of the season; we will continue to work hard to reach the maximum goal before taking this big step together"

“I am very happy to get into MotoGP with Ducati and Esponsorama Racing,” added Bastianini. “Now I have to concentrate on finishing the season, since I would like to go up as World Champion although I know it will not be easy.

"The following season, several riders made the leap to MotoGP, we started a new adventure together with the fastest riders in the world in which I think that together with the team I will be able to achieve good results."

It is anticipated this deal will ultimately pave the way for VR46 Sky Racing Italia to assume Avintia’s MotoGP entry from 2022 when the next cycle of contracts begin. Indeed, Avintia boss Raul Romero hints it is has already begun to incorporate the VR46 set-up - thought to be one of the best-funded outside of MotoGP - for 2021.

"Having Luca Marini with us next year and the structure of the SKY VR46 is a source of pride since, to this day, it is one of the strongest structures in the championship in all categories," said Avintia's Raul Romero.

"Next year we will make a leap in quality in which we have high expectations of continuing to show that we are a benchmark team in the MotoGP World Championship."

The deal means Ducati will have three rookies on its books for 2021, together with another Moto2 graduate in the shape of Jorge Martin, who joins Pramac Racing.

Meanwhile, Rabat has been linked with a move to WorldSBK with either Barni Ducati or GoEleven Ducati.

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