Valentino Rossi's VR46 Moto2 team to be "absorbed" by Fantic

An agreement between Fantic and the VR46 Racing Team that will see the Italian manufacturer "absorb" the Moto2 team of Valentino Rossi.

Fantic CEO Mariano Roman with VR46 team director Alessio Salucci. - Fantic

Fantic is preparing to expand into the road bike market, and its first move is to collaborate with the VR46 Riders Academy. 

Valentino Rossi's VR46 Racing Team has been present in the MotoGP paddock since 2014, and its participation in the Moto2 category began in 2017. Its arrival on the MotoGP grid last year as part of the Esponsorama team meant the Moto3 team was given up. Now a full MotoGP outfit with Ducati, VR46 is now giving up its Moto2 team, too.

It will become the Fantic team, whose logos will appear on the Mooney VR46 Racing Team’s Triumph-powered Kalex Moto2 bikes already from this weekend’s British Grand Prix. From 2023, Fantic will be its own team at the expense of the VR46 entry. 

“The partnership will be already operational from the next race at Silverstone, where the Fantic brand will appear on the motorcycles of Celestino Vietti Ramus and Niccolò Antonelli,” a Fantic press release reads

The statement continues: “For the 2023 season, Claudio Giovanardi, Manager of FANTIC Racing Division has chosen Stefano Bedon as Team Manager, while Milena Koerner, who is already Coordinator of the Fantic Off Road Teams, will be in charge of the technical area, which will absorb the current structure of the VR46 Racing Team.”

Fantic’s collaboration with VR46 will extend beyond the Moto2 World Championship, however. In addition to the racing partnership, Fantic will support the VR46 Riders Academy in searching for and developing young riders. 

Certainly, it is noticeable that in more recent years the flow of talent through from the Italian Championship with VR46 affiliation has slowed as the organisation progressed into MotoGP. 

Considering Fantic’s off-road expertise, and its relationship with Yamaha, it is perhaps also possible to consider that Fantic may become the supplier of motocross training bikes for the VR46 Rider Academy.

“We are excited about the agreement signed with the VR46 Racing Team,” said Fantic CEO Mariano Roman. “We are following an important path to build a more and more ‘racing oriented’ Fantic and this is a really fundamental step. 

“Our brands fully share the same values, and we have the same passion and vision about motorsport. Moreover, we both have an important relationship with young talent. This is a special moment; the cooperation with Valentino Rossi’s team will be an incredible support for the achievement of our most important goals.”

Alessio Salucci, VR46 Racing Team director, added: “I’m very glad that we signed this partnership agreement with Fantic, an historic brand in the motorcycle industry and a sound Italian company, an additional source of pride for our supporters. 

“This is an important moment, also for the future of our entire Moto2 structure. We’ll have different experiences spanning throughout all motorsport areas: on the one hand Fantic, among off-road leaders, and on the other hand the VR46 Racing Team, which over the years has become a reference point among the Moto2 teams. 

“Our cooperation is crucial also for the VR46 Riders Academy, because we’ll have a new technical partner to support us in the search and growth of new two-wheel young talent.”

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