Tony Arbolino expects to test for Marc VDS, out of VR46 contention?

With the opening winter MotoGP test less than a week away, the identity of Marc Marquez’s Repsol Honda replacement is yet to be officially announced.
Tony Arbolino, Moto2, Thailand MotoGP, 27 October
Tony Arbolino, Moto2, Thailand MotoGP, 27 October

Luca Marini remains the red-hot favourite to take over from the #93 but that in turn means a vacancy at VR46 needs to be filled.

Last weekend in Sepang, team director Uccio Salucci indicated VR46 would look towards Moto2 for a new rider, naming man-of-the-moment Fermin Aldeguer and title runner-up Tony Arbolino as among the possibilities.

But after initially writing off Fabio di Giannantonio’s chances for the VR46 Ducati seat, the Italian’s breakthrough victory last Sunday means he is now rumoured to be in contention.

Ducati sporting director Paolo Ciabatti said it was “unacceptable” that di Giannantonio did not have a 2024 seat given his recent performances, but made clear that VR46, like Gresini, pick their own riders.

One piece of positive news for Diggia is that Arbolino apparently expects to be testing his Marc VDS Moto2 bike on Monday after the Valencia finale, indicating that he won't be part of the MotoGP test and therefore not on the 2024 premier-class grid.

“I really want to finish the season strongly and then we immediately begin our preparations for 2024 on Monday after Valencia with an important test for the new tyres we will race with next year,” Arbolino said.

Pirelli takes over from Dunlop as the exclusive Moto2 (and Moto3) tyre supplier for 2024.

The Valencia MotoGP test, which should feature the full line-up of 2024 riders, takes place the day after the Moto2 test, on Tuesday.

Salucci said that, despite the last-minute nature of the rider search, it would still be an 'extreme' scenario for VR46 to test without Marini's replacement next week.

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