Valentino Rossi isn’t ruling out a MotoGP move for his VR46 team but said it won't happen for 2021, when the focus is on trying to secure the Avintia Ducati place for his brother Luca Marini.

However, the current agreement between Dorna and the Independent teams, which limits grid numbers to the existing entries, expires at the end of next season and Rossi believes 'MotoGP will change a lot' in 2022.

In other words, VR46 would be able to join the 2022 grid by dealing directly with Dorna and not by negotiating grid places from any existing teams, as was the case for the Sepang squad, which acquired its MotoGP entries from Aspar.

"For us [VR46 in MotoGP], in 2021, no," Rossi said. "But in 2022, MotoGP will change a lot so we have to understand because at this moment we are very happy with Moto3 and Moto2, because our 'dimension' is that. For MotoGP you need to make another step. So it's not easy."

Rumours in the Italian media suggest that, rather than trying to replace Avintia as a Ducati team in 2022, VR46 could enter MotoGP as Suzuki's long-rumoured satellite team.

Rossi already has connections to the factory, with Suzuki team manager Davide Brivio running Rossi's side of the Factory Yamaha garage from 2004-2010.

But for now, the top priority for VR46 is placing Marini in MotoGP next season.

"We speak for Luca and we hope that Luca can have a chance in MotoGP in 2021, maybe with Avintia with Ducati," Rossi said.

Marini is currently leading the Moto2 World Championship by 17 points from Enea Bastianini. Bastianini is already confirmed as moving to MotoGP with Ducati next season, almost certainly in place of Johann Zarco at Avintia.

The other Avintia seat is reserved for Tito Rabat, but the Spaniard has scored just seven points this season compared to 31, including a pole and podium, for new team-mate Zarco.

Should Rabat relinquish his place, perhaps for a Ducati WorldSBK ride, it would clear the way for Marini, although Ducati and/or VR46 would need to replace the Avintia funding currently provided by Rabat.

Another fast, young Italian rookie would certainly be welcomed by Ducati, which is betting on finding future stars after the departure of both Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci from its factory team.

As well as Bastianini, Ducati is set to give Jorge Martin his MotoGP debut at Pramac next season, but Marini is currently beating them both in Moto2.

"I would be glad to be in MotoGP next year but I don’t know if there is a place for me, but I hope," Marini said after qualifying in pole position on Saturday.

Should Marini graduate to MotoGP he would join fellow VR46 Academy riders Franco Morbidelli and Francesco Bagnaia, as well as Rossi, who is set to move to Petronas Yamaha next season.

'I am faster than last week'.

Rossi was speaking after qualifying in seventh place for the second of his back-to-back home Misano MotoGP rounds, which saw the top 11 riders covered by just half-a-second.

"Qualifying was very exciting. I am 0.3s from the pole position! But unfortunately I am just P7," Rossi said. "I had better potential. Unfortunately I did some mistakes during the lap. I don't ride at the maximum because I feel good with my bike, I think I can do better.

"Starting from the third row is difficult in the modern MotoGP, where you need to make everything good from the beginning. Especially the start, first corner and first lap will be very important. You need to be aggressive but always thinking about the entire race.

"Everybody is faster than last week. But we work a lot on the bike and today I feel good and I'm able to improve my pace. At the end of FP2 we did a modification and I had good pace. It's true that there are a lot of different riders that are very fast tomorrow, but also for me it's not so bad. I have a good pace and I feel good with the bike. I am faster than last week."

'Pecco rides the Ducati in a perfect way'

During qualifying Rossi got the chance to follow his VR46 protegee Francesco Bagnaia, who took his first MotoGP podium with Pramac Ducati last weekend and was on target for pole position this afternoon until he exceeded track limits out of the final corner.

"Pecco rides very good, because he is able with his style to use the Ducati in the perfect way," Rossi said. "He's able to fix some problems that Ducati have, but use at the maximum some advantage that the Ducati has like the engine and the acceleration.

"Ducati is a high performance bike but it's not easy to ride. Following Pecco he rides very well and unfortunately he touched the green, if not he would make the pole position. I think that tomorrow he will be very strong during the race, because he has a very good pace."

Bagnaia, still limping from a leg injury at Brno, will start fifth on the grid after losing pole, which then went to Rossi's team-mate Maverick Vinales.

 

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