VR46 Ducati confirmed with Marini, Bezzecchi for 2022 MotoGP… but not Aramco

Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi are confirmed with the VR46 Racing Ducati team for its maiden 2022 MotoGP season... but there is no mention of Aramco

Marco Bezzecchi - Sky Racing Moto2 Italia VR46

VR46 Racing Ducati will embark on its inaugural MotoGP World Championship season in 2022 with Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi, but seemingly without its high-profile title backers Aramco.

Marini and Bezzecchi have been long rumoured as VR46 Racing’s pairing for the 2022 MotoGP World Championship with team manager Pablo Nieto confirming as much during the final round of the season in Valencia.

However, the publishing of the 2022 FIM MotoGP World Championship entry lists makes the announcement formal.

VR46 Racing steps up from Moto2 to compete in MotoGP for the first time next season just as founder Valentino Rossi steps away from the sport after bringing his 25-year career on the world stage to a close.

Rossi’s brother Marini will embark on his second season in the top flight after a modest maiden season with Avintia Racing, which peaked with a best finish of fifth place in the rain-affected Austrian MotoGP.

Bezzecchi, meanwhile, will be one of four rookies joining the MotoGP grid in 2022 together with Remy Gardner, Raul Fernandez and Fabio di Giannantonio. He is next in line from the VR46 Academy after ending the 2021 Moto2 season third in the overall standings. 

The pair will make use of year-old Ducati GP21 machinery amid a stronghold of eight entries riding the Italian machine.

No Aramco for VR46 Racing's maiden MotoGP season?

While the riders are confirmed, however, VR46 Racing is conspicuous in not having Aramco mentioned in its official team title.

Though this can sometimes be an oversight at this stage while deals are confirmed, it is notable that Aramco was included with VR46 on the provisional entry list released some weeks ago.

The Saudi oil giant was known to be in discussions with VR46 to enter as title backer for 2022 and even went as far as to go ahead and put out a press release stating as much in May despite Rossi himself insisting a deal hadn’t been signed.

Thought to be worth as much as €18m, the deal apparently hinged on Rossi racing for VR46 himself, an invitation he declined in favour of retiring despite pressure from Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al Saud to do so.

Though this gave rise to VR46 Racing considering approaching a high profile rival as a de facto replacement - with Maverick Vinales among those to be mooted - it would have flown against the team’s ethos in bringing up Italian talent.

2022 MotoGP World Championship Rider Line-up [as of 22/10/21]

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP

Fabio QuartararoFRAYamaha M1
Franco MorbidelliITAYamaha M1

Ducati Lenovo Team

Jack MillerAUSDucati GP22
Francesco BagnaiaITADucati GP22

Repsol Honda Team

Marc MarquezESPHonda RC213V
Pol EspargaroESPHonda RC213V

Team Suzuki Ecstar

Joan MirESPSuzuki GSX-RR
Alex RinsESPSuzuki GSX-RR

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Brad BinderRSAKTM RC16
Miguel OliveiraPRTKTM RC16

Aprilia Racing

Aleix EspargaroESPAprilia RS-GP
Maverick VinalesESPAprilia RS-GP

LCR Honda Idemitsu

Alex MarquezESPHonda RC213V
Takaaki NakagamiJAPHonda RC213V

Pramac Racing

Johann ZarcoFRADucati GP22
Jorge MartinESPDucati GP22

Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing

Remy GardnerAUSKTM RC16
Raul FernandezESPKTM RC16

Gresini Racing

Enea BastianiniITADucati GP21 *
Fabio di GiannantonioITADucati GP21 *

VR46 Racing

Luca MariniITADucati GP21 ^
Marco BezzecchiITADucati GP21 ^

WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team

Andrea DoviziosoITAYamaha M1
Darryn BinderRSAYamaha M1 ^

* Bike specification unconfirmed

^ Using 2021 specification machinery

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