Valentino Rossi tips brother Luca Marini to shine in 2021 MotoGP debut

Valentino Rossi has high hopes and expectations for his brother and new rival Luca Marini ahead of the 2021 MotoGP World Championship

Luca Marini, Valentino Rossi - Sky Italia VR46

Valentino Rossi has tipped his brother and forthcoming MotoGP-rival Luca Marini to stand out from the crowd when the youngster makes his much anticipated premier class debut in 2021.

The Italian will share the asphalt professionally with Marini for the first time in his career in 2021 when the Moto2 graduate turns his first laps with the Avintia Racing Ducati squad.

A protege of Rossi’s VR46 Rider Academy, a platform that has nurtured the likes of Moto2 title winning alumni like  Franco Morbidelli and Pecco Bagnaia, Marini will ride a year-old Ducati GP19 in the colours of his brother’s endorsed VR46 Sky Italia outfit.

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One of three rookies to be debuting in 2021 - together with team-mate Enea Bastianini and Pramac Racing’s Jorge Martin - while Avintia Racing is the smallest team on the grid in terms of budget, Johann Zarco showed in 2020 that it has competitive potential in the right hands.

Indeed, Rossi believes both Marini and Bastianini have the ‘hands’ to maintain Avintia Racing’s stellar 2020 form.

"Marini and Bastianini did fantastic things with the Moto2, fighting for the championship until the last race. In MotoGP they will have a very good bike, the Ducati, and a good team. So I think that also for Marini and Bastianini already they can competitive in 2021," Rossi said

Marini’s graduation comes as the value of Moto2’s ability to breed the next generation of stars continues to grow following the title-winning success of Joan Mir and multiple race winner Fabio Quartararo, who demonstrated their worth over the past two seasons having only stepped up in 2018

"Practically all the young riders that arrive in MotoGP from Moto2 in the last years are very competitive," Rossi said.

"The list is very long of people that fight for the championship in Moto2 [but] they are usually fast with the MotoGP bike from the first moment.

"It looks likes the Moto2 category is a good school and there are a lot of very strong riders in this 'new generation', like we saw with Mir."

Rossi himself embarks on a fresh chapter in his long and esteemed career in 2021, switching from the Yamaha Factory team to the Petronas SRT Yamaha outfit. It is speculated this would be his final season of MotoGP, before taking on management duties of a rumoured-Sky Italian VR46 team in 2022, likely with Marini involved.

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