A collection of occasions over the previous couple of weeks centred round what was beforehand considered a strong title sponsorship deal of his graduating VR46 group may imply that Rossi will race in 2022 in any case, campaigning a VR46 Ducati along with his brother Luca Marini as his teammate.
The 42-year-old Italian is racing in 2021 in Petronas SRT colors, after the manufacturing facility Yamaha group opted to interchange him this yr with Fabio Quartararo – the present championship chief and main contender for the premier class crown.
Rossi, a seven-time MotoGP world champion, goes by way of essentially the most troublesome second of his 26-year championship profession in 2021. After 9 grand prix races to this point, he’s 19th within the general standings with simply 17 factors, having completed within the high 10 solely as soon as at Mugello.
The Friday of the final spherical at Assen marked 4 years since his final victory in 2017, whereas his final podium end was within the second spherical of final yr at Jerez.
Since embarking on this SRT mission, Rossi has at all times careworn that he would solely think about extending his profession as a MotoGP rider if the outcomes went his method, one thing that has clearly not occurred. Talking at Assen, Rossi maintained that he would talk a choice on his future when he returned from the summer season break.
“I at all times mentioned that my determination would depend upon the outcomes, will probably be troublesome for me to race subsequent yr,” he mentioned.
Valentino Rossi, Petronas Yamaha SRT
Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
That Thursday morning, VR46 confirmed the deal that made the group’s transfer from Moto2 to MotoGP official, as a buyer of Ducati. Of explicit be aware within the assertion was a quote from Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al Saud, the Saudi prince who, in principle, has been the driving drive behind the take care of Aramco, the group’s predominant sponsor.
“It might be incredible for me if Valentino Rossi may compete within the coming years as a rider for our Aramco Racing Group VR46 alongside his brother Luca Marini, who’s already competing this yr beneath the sponsorship of our manufacturers,” he mentioned, in a press release that caught Rossi himself unexpectedly.
Nevertheless, in current weeks a collection of occasions have taken form which were vital sufficient to drive him to increase his profession, which based mostly on his communication – each verbal and non-verbal – doesn’t appear to be a laughing matter.
The basis of the confusion stems from the theoretical contract which stipulates that Saudi oil large Aramco will change into the primary sponsor of VR46’s MotoGP mission when it enters MotoGP in 2022. Because the information broke within the final week of April, no assertion from the corporate has validated the deal, merely Rossi’s testimony that he has the approval of the prince, who owns Aramco. In actual fact, all of the press releases regarding this new alliance are signed by Tanal Leisure, a conglomerate of corporations owned by the Saudi prince.
Since then, Aramco itself has repeatedly sought to disassociate itself from the alleged hyperlink, by way of varied statements.
“Aramco, one of many world’s largest power and chemical corporations, confirms that it has not entered into any strategic settlement with the VR46 MotoGP group or another MotoGP affiliate,” the petrochemical firm mentioned in a press release despatched to Moorsport.com.
“This be aware is in reference to Tanal Leisure’s press launch issued on Wednesday 28 April, with out Aramco’s information. Aramco has by no means had any industrial settlement with Tanal Leisure, the MotoGP championship or any of the groups collaborating in it.”
Aramco signage at Imola for F1’s 2021 Emilia-Romagna GP
Picture by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
Moreover, in the course of the Dutch Grand Prix, Aramco CEO Amin Hassan Nasser was considered one of Pramac’s visitors on the Assen race. All through the weekend, the senior govt held a number of conferences wherein he made it clear that the corporate he heads has neither signed with VR46 nor intends to take action.
Following the arrival of Liberty Media as Components 1 rights promoter in 2017, Aramco has been increasing its presence at grand prix occasions to change into considered one of F1’s predominant sponsors. Being a newcomer to MotoGP, which initially plans to discipline Luca Marini and produce up Marco Bezzecchi from Moto2 as its pair of riders, it is laborious to see VR46 becoming with Aramco’s sponsorship technique with out Rossi within the saddle himself.
At this level, one wonders what may have occurred to convey the maze up to now. It is a tangle that appears troublesome to resolve, particularly since Rossi has been defensive every time he has been questioned concerning the Aramco/VR46 deal.
“We’re getting into good religion, I discuss to the prince typically and all the things is ok,” he remarked at Assen. It appears clear that there’s a main discrepancy between the angle of the 2 sides.
“I’d like to be fallacious, however I’ve the sensation that the deal has not materialised,” a supply aware of the mess advised Motorsport.com.
It is at this level that it could start to make sense for Rossi to think about becoming a member of his brother at VR46, with the intention of attracting the eye of sponsors who would make the mission viable.
For all that Moto2 race winner Bezzecchi would benefit a MotoGP berth, the pull of the #46 continues to be infinitely higher than that of Rossi’s 22-year-old protege.
Marco Bezzecchi, Sky Racing Group VR46
Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images