Is there truth to Rossi’s MotoGP team switching from Ducati to Yamaha in 2024?

FIM president Jorge Viegas has dropped a major hint that Valentino Rossi’s Mooney VR46 Team could swap Ducati for Yamaha machinery after the 2023 MotoGP season.
Valentino Rossi, Ducati MotoGP Valencia
Valentino Rossi, Ducati MotoGP Valencia

Rossi’s MotoGP team, which will be unchanged for a second season as Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi lead the charge, is part of an eight-bike contingent at Ducati.

By far the most number of bikes on the grid - Honda, Aprilia and KTM are next with four bikes across their two teams - Ducati could be set to lose one of those teams as Rossi and his VR46 team could be switching to Yamaha, which would signal a quick return to four bikes for the Japanese manufacturer, if the move goes ahead.

With Razali’s RNF team moving from Yamaha to Aprilia for 2023, the Iwata-based brand are left with just Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli at the Factory Monster Energy Team, which marks the first time that Yamaha has just one outfit competing in the premier class since it became the MotoGP era in 2002. 

Winners of the two out of the last three races with Alex Rins, Suzuki’s withdrawal from MotoGP is likely to increase Ducati’s chances of continuing their domination in 2023. 

However, Viegas provided an interesting statement after being re-elected as FIM president last week, one that could be a huge blow to the Italian brand beyond next season.

"I don’t see this situation as being particularly good," said Viegas about Suzuki withdrawing and Yamaha being down to two bikes, when interviewed by Rai TV. "But I think it will only be for 2023. In 2024, Valentino Rossi’s team will switch from Ducati to Yamaha. 

"For now it’s an idea and nothing is confirmed, but I’m sharing some news. There will be six Ducatis and four Yamahas."

For the sake of a balanced grid, having four Yamahas and less Ducatis should provide more of a show for fans, especially when it comes to qualifying as the latter were in a league of their own in this regard during 2022. 

Ducati blew away its competition and often had four or five bikes inside the top six when Q2 sessions were said and done. 

If Rossi’s team is the one to leave Ducati then it won’t be much of a surprise given the nine-time world champion’s history with Yamaha.

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