Valentino Rossi says VR46 will be in MotoGP as wait for Saudi millions continues

Valentino Rossi plays down the impact of potentially losing up to €18m in financial backing for VR46 Racing as the wait for the Saudi investment continues

Valentino Rossi - Petronas SRT Yamaha 2021.jpg

Valentino Rossi maintains his VR46 Racing team will make its MotoGP debut in 2022, despite growing uncertainty around millions it was expected to receive in Saudi Arabian sponsorship money.

After making its name in Moto3 and Moto2, VR46 Racing will move on into the MotoGP World Championship next season as a satellite Ducati entry with title backing from Saudi oil giants Aramco, the result of a deal involving Prince Abulaziz bin Abdullah Al Saud.

No riders have been formally confirmed but the line-up is expected to comprise Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi. 

However, it is known the Prince personally - and publicly - petitioned Rossi to be one of the riders, a decision the Italian subsequently side-stepped by announcing he will retire at the end of the season.

While the Prince had suggested the sponsorship money - thought to be in the region of €18m - was still incoming, that deadline passed weeks ago, adding credence to the assertion that investors have pulled their investment on the back of Rossi’s decision not to race.

The man himself admits he doesn’t know when or if the money will materialise, but maintains the team is ready to start the 2022 season regardless.

"Sincerely I don’t know very well the situation with the Prince,” he told reporters following qualifying for the Aragon MotoGP, which he will start 21st. "I know just that we will do the MotoGP team and we already work very hard. 

"I don't know very well the situation, the latest news, but I think anyway we will be in MotoGP next year."