Valentino Rossi’s VR46 Ducati keeps Luca Marini, Marco Bezzecchi for 2023 MotoGP

Valentino Rossi's VR46 Racing Ducati team retains both Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi for the 2023 MotoGP World Championship; only two vacant seats left

Luca Marini, Marco Bezzecchi - VR46 Racing Ducati

VR46 Racing Ducati has confirmed it will field an unchanged rider line-up for the 2023 MotoGP World Championship by retaining both Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi.

Founded by MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi, VR46 Racing stepped up to the premier MotoGP class this season in the wake of the Italian’s decision to retire from motorcycle racing having tasted success in both Moto2 and Moto3.

Promoting Bezzecchi from the intermediate class in a line-up alongside Rossi’s brother Marini - crossing from Avintia Racing - the pair have shown impressive flashes of form on year-old Ducati machinery over the course of the season.

Contesting his sophomore MotoGP campaign on more competitive machinery, Marini has overcome a steady start to the season to show impressive form in recent rounds, with five top six results from the last seven races, including a new career-best of fourth at the Red Bull Ring and Misano.

Bezzecchi, meanwhile, has emerged as the standout of the five rookies debuting in MotoGP this season.

Scoring a maiden top ten finish in only his third race at the Argentina MotoGP, Bezzecchi has gone on to land a landmark maiden front row start on home soil at Mugello, before claiming a shock podium at Assen with his run to second place.

Which seats remain on the 2023 MotoGP grid?

Though VR46 Ducati was the only team yet to confirm its full rider line-up when the MotoGP paddock arrived at Misano just over a week ago, there were few doubts that Marini and Bezzecchi were set for extended stays.

Nevertheless, it means four becomes two in terms of vacant 2023 MotoGP seats with LCR Honda and GASGAS Racing each yet to formalise a second rider.

Having failed to reach an agreement with Miguel Oliveira, allowed Raul Fernandez to depart for RNF Aprilia and axed Remy Gardner, GASGAS - aka Tech 3 KTM - is expected to announce Augusto Fernandez any day now.

The Spaniard - set to be partnered with Pol Espargaro, who returns to the KTM family from Honda - is currently in the hunt for the Moto2 title with the KTM-supported Ajo Motorsport team.

Meanwhile, Honda has given little away as to whether it will retain Takaaki Nakagami at LCR alongside Alex Rins, or replace him with fellow Japanese rider Ai Ogura.

2020 Moto3 runner-up Ogura was long considered a shoo-in for the seat having emerged as Moto2 title contender this year.

However, with Honda forced back to the drawing board to vastly improve its troublesome new RC213V evolution, it is thought Nakagami’s experience could prove more invaluable to the manufacturer, particularly considering Marc Marquez’s physical concerns, plus the incoming Joan Mir and Rins’ unfamiliarity with the package.

Moreover, Honda is reportedly keen to shield highly-rated Ogura from having to make his MotoGP debut on an uncompetitive machine.