MotoGP

Valentino Rossi is working hard to get brother Luca Marini in 2021 MotoGP seat

Luca Marini could be a surprise addition to the 2021 MotoGP grid if Tito Rabat leaves Avintia Racing as he is reportedly considering...

He may have been racing almost week-in, week-out at the moment and negotiating a very ‘complicated’ new contract with Petronas SRT Yamaha for 2021, but Valentino Rossi has somehow still found time take on a lobbying role that may well see his (half) brother Luca Marini step up to MotoGP next season.

The 23-year old has come of age this season in the Moto2 World Championship where three wins in nine races on the Rossi-endorsed Sky Italia VR46 Kalex have seen him open up a tidy advantage at the head of the standings.

While he hasn’t had the quickest route to the head of the Moto2 tree having made his full-time debut in 2016, Marini has added consistency to go with speed for 2020 and is well placed in the title fight with six rounds to go.

However, Marini won’t be one of two Moto2 riders destined to make their MotoGP debut in 2021 with Jorge Martin and Enea Bastianini picked over him by Ducati to be placed at Pramac and Avinita respectively.

Nonetheless, Ducati is still keen on Marini being involved amid rumours Tito Rabat could voluntarily break his own contract with Avintia Racing to leave MotoGP. While Avintia has emphasised it isn’t going to ‘push’ him like it did Karel Abraham when the Ducati-backed Johann Zarco became available, it seems the Spaniard instead wants to leave of his own accord as his results wane.

While not as aligned with Ducati as, say, Pramac Racing - meaning Avintia doesn’t have to do what is asked of it - there is still some deal sweetening leverage that could be applied, much like it did with Zarco by supplying him with his bike (rather than it being purchased by the team itself).

Moreover, Rossi is also getting involved in the situation and while it’s hard to see exactly what he can personally offer to get Marini the ride, when ‘The Doctor’ calls, you definitely answer the phone.

Any graduation for Marini would give Rossi’s VR46 project another impressive endorsement in a year that has seen other members flourish, including Franco Morbidelli - now a race winner and Rossi’s future team-mate - and Pecco Bagnaia, who scored his first MotoGP podium in Misano too.

There was also briefly talk that the Sky Italia VR46 team is considering taking on Avintia Racing’s MotoGP entry altogether in 2021, but the Spanish outfit moved to deny that was in the offing.

As well as the two Avintia Racing bikes, the other seats still undecided on the 2021 MotoGP grid are an Aprilia seat left open for banned-but-under-appeal Andrea Iannone, plus an LCR Honda ride that is almost 99.9% destined for Takaaki Nakagami.
 

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