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Valentino Rossi ponders VR46 Yamaha swap, but ‘scary’ Ducati best in MotoGP

VR46 Racing owner and former MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi has hinted he would consider swapping from Ducati to Yamaha machinery in future, but concedes the Japanese firm will require a step up in competitiveness to attract him.

While the nine-time Grand Prix World Champion himself has maintained a low physical profile in the MotoGP paddock since bringing his hugely successful two-wheel racing career to a conclusion at the end of the 2021 MotoGP season, his brand remains very prominent via his VR46 Racing squad.

The team, which he founded in 2014 - first to compete in Moto3 before graduating to Moto2 - joined the MotoGP ranks in 2022 as one of three satellite Ducati efforts alongside its ‘Corse’ factory squad.


Showing flashes of potential with Rookie of The Year Marco Bezzecchi and Rossi’s brother Luca Marini, VR46 have evolved into potential title contenders in 2023 with Bezzecchi leading the standings after three rounds.

However, as successful as VR46 Racing is becoming, it is unlikely to ascend the Ducati customer hierarchy, which prioritises Pramac Racing, while it has indicated it is already stretching its resources to supply its four teams.

As such, there has long been speculation regarding the future allegiance of of VR46 Racing, more so now as it complements Rossi’s still very valuable brand by tasting success on track too.

With this in mind, Yamaha - where Rossi achieved the vast majority of his success - is considered the likeliest option, with Lin Jarvis being quoted on numerous occasions that the door for Rossi and VR46 Racing to run Yamaha machinery will always be open.

However, though Yamaha is on the hunt for a satellite partner following the exit of RNF Racing, Rossi says VR46 Racing will honour its three-year deal with Ducati to the end of 2024, before suggesting Yamaha must prove its competitiveness to lure his team over.

“We have a three-year contract with Ducati, also for 2024, and I don’t think that will change,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport supplement, Sportsweek.

“It’s difficult to be a factory team. Because for me they will always make the factory team. We’ll see for the future.

“With Yamaha it would be nice. But we need to see how competitive the bikes are. We want to go to the races hoping to finish at the front.

Rossi - ‘Ducati scary, but they are the best bikes in MotoGP’


With Ducati considered the new dominant force of MotoGP - both in terms of results and numbers - while Rossi jokingly describes the bike as ‘scary’, he is prepared to continue with the manufacturer beyond 2024.

"Our results also come because we have Ducati, which are scary. 

“They are the best bikes and we were good for choosing them. That makes all the difference.”

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