The Mooney VR46 team’s stock has never been higher with Marco Bezzecchi leading the MotoGP standings after three rounds, and Luca Marini claiming his first podium.

They are powered by the best machinery currently on the grid via Ducati, and are contracted until the end of next year, but rumours persist that Rossi could be tempted to take his team to Yamaha, where his own glory days played out.

MotoGP & F1 to consider Joint-Race Weekends?!

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

But the intrigue is whether Yamaha can tempt Rossi across with an offer that Ducati could not match.

Yamaha, where Rossi won four of his seven premier class championships, lost their satellite team to Aprilia and only have two bikes on the grid this season.

Could they effectively allow Rossi’s VR46 squad to become the Yamaha factory team?

Lin Jarvis, Yamaha managing director, oversaw Rossi’s best years. They retain a relationship and Yamaha offer bikes to the VR46 Academy in Tavullia.

The fascinating prospect extends to the sponsor Monster - who already work with Yamaha, and Rossi, separately.

“It’s difficult to be a factory team,” Rossi responded to the scenario. 

“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.

"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."

VR46 currently use the 2022 Desmosedici, so Ducati might need to consider rewarding their progress this season by giving them the latest-spec bikes next year - a move which would make exiting an even harder decision.

The VR46 duo Bezzecchi and Marini are two of eight Ducati riders on the current grid, and they are clearly profiting from the dominance of the Italian manufacturer.

Bezzecchi delivered his - and VR46’s - first-ever win in the premier class in Argentina. He currently sits 11 points clear at the top of the MotoGP standings.

Marini, Rossi’s brother, has finished on the podium in the Argentina sprint race and the MotoGP Grand Prix of the Americas.

Marini’s podium finish in Texas was highlighted by an unstoppable pass of Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha’s star rider who has bemoaned his inability to compete with what he calls Ducati’s “rocketships”.

Rossi’s team are tied to Ducati for this season, and next, and the partnership is clearly fruitful.

The other graduates from Rossi’s VR46 Academy on the grid after Francesco Bagnaia, who last season became Italy’s first MotoGP champion since his mentor in 2009, and Franco Morbidelli who has exceeded expectation with Yamaha this year.

Rossi’s heartstrings may be pulled to take his VR46 team to Yamaha for the 2025 season. 

It would have major ramifications across the grid - Quartararo’s future? Could Yamaha keep the 2021 world champion and partner him with a current VR46 rider? Will an opportunity open up elsewhere for another team to create a satellite squad?