Rossi’s VR46 partnership with Ducati is set to end after the 2024 MotoGP season and rumours linking them with a switch to Yamaha won’t go away. 

In fact, team manager of the Mooney VR46 Ducati team, Uccio Salucci, who is Rossi’s best friend recently revealed that the interest from Yamaha appeals to them.

Rumours of VR46 moving to Yamaha started towards the end of last season after FIM president Jorge Viegas claimed that such a switch will take place in the future.

However, VR46 denied the rumours which is consistent with their idea of continuing with Ducati, at least until their current contract ends.  

Huewen also believes that staying with Ducati is in Rossi’s best interest given the current competitiveness of both manufacturers in MotoGP.

Speaking on the latest MotoGP Podcast, Huewen said: "Ducati and VR46… well Valentino [Rossi] knows his stuff at the end of the day. Yamaha is struggling and they’re going to have to come up with something a little bit special in the way of promises to get them to switch across. 

"It may be more about what Ducati are prepared to do for VR46 moving forward that will sway them, I would think. I think it will be a more behind the scenes, political situation of who’s getting the top-line bike. 

"If Ducati see the VR46 empire as being the best option for their best bikes then why would you change. Ducati is the bike and Yamaha most certainly isn’t. We might say something different after Portimao if Quartararo can put something together again at a track that we know the Yamaha works really well at, but it’s a long bloody season this year. 

"I think VR46 are in the right place at the moment. Whether they will change is more down to Ducati." 

While Ducati might be more competitive than Yamaha at present, Rossi’s ties to Yamaha not only go back a long way, but will forever remain his most successful period in racing. 

What would you do if you’re VR46?” added MotoGP editor, Peter McLaren. "It’s always interesting seeing Rossi in these team pictures in plain clothing. He never puts on the Ducati gear. 

"When he rides on the track with [VR46 academy riders] he’s always on an R1. Those links between Rossi and Yamaha just go so far back. It was the FIM president who released this rumour over the winter about VR46 moving to Yamaha. 

"Of course, it’s been denied by VR46 who have a contract for next year with Ducati which is the final year, but it’s one of those things where there’s no smoke without fire. Lin Jarvis isn’t denying it completely. He’s playing cool as ever but he’s not ruling it out, let’s say. 

"Will VR46 be offered full factory M1 bikes to tempt them over? This is where the door is slightly ajar because they’re now on year-old Ducatis and therefore they’ve just slipped a little bit further from the front of the Ducati queue. 

"Last year Marini had the latest bike but you could say it didn’t do him any favours at the start of the year. But there’s a chance there for Yamaha to come in and say ‘look, we will give you factory bikes’, but they never gave their satellite teams two factory bikes before. 

"It’s going to come down to how badly Yamaha wants to have a satellite team, how badly they want to have Valentino Rossi in there with them. Another one to throw in, which I heard in 2019 and it’s come up again recently, is what if VR46 became the factory Yamaha team?"

Huewen is also of the mindset that taking over the factory Yamaha project could entice Rossi to rethink whether continuing with Ducati is the best move, however, the former Grand Prix racer and voice of MotoGP on BT Sport believes it’s the only scenario that would appeal to VR46. 

Huewen said: "I would say that’s hit the nail perfectly. I would say that’s the only way that Valentino would cross over. 

"You’re right about him never being in Ducati colours which means Ducati aren’t doing enough for VR46 at the moment. I can see him taking over the factory Yamaha team. That would be the only way he’s interested."

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