Valentino Rossi has hinted his brother and VR46 Academy protege Luca Marini could be in line to step up to the MotoGP World Championship in 2021 with the Avintia Racing team.

However, it remains unclear whether there is a vacant spot in the Spanish team after management insisted the contracted Tito Rabat remains in place for 2021.

Currently leading the 2020 Moto2 World Championship standings after a second win of the season last time out in Misano, Marini was originally understood to be in competition for an Avintia Racing ride together with Enea Bastianini.



However, after Bastianini confirmed he has signed a deal with Ducati that is expected to see him replace Johann Zarco for 2021, it appeared the Italian’s chances had vanished given Rabat is also currently in the first season of a two-year contract with the Spanish outfit.

Despite this, Rossi says talks have occurred about the opportunity to place Marini with Ducati next season, where he would then be one of three Moto2 graduates expected to feature in the six-strong manufacturer line-up alongside Bastianini and Jorge Martin, who is set for a Pramac seat.

“We have spoken with Ducati to have the chance to arrive in MotoGP next year with Avintia,” he confirmed. 

“It’s great because Ducati is competitive and they put a lot of effort in the MotoGP programme. They also push for young riders, so if Luca is able to arrive in MotoGP and race with Ducati, it is very good for him.

“But now it is very important that he concentrates on the Moto2 Championship and try to win, because that is the most important thing before next year.”

Avintia turns down the offer of Marini

According to the AS newspaper, however, Avintia Racing remains committed to honouring its contract with Rabat, despite some reports suggesting the 2014 Moto2 champion could yet walk away of his own accord.

Sky Italia VR46 Racing team manager Pablo Nieto said it had approached Avintia directly, but Raoul Romero told AS he had rebuffed the interest.

“We have a contract with Tito Rabat and we want to continue with him… the seats are mine and next year I will still be with Rabat.”

The talk comes amid other suggestions Avintia Racing could exit the series altogether - to be replaced by Leopard Racing - though the team again has denied this.



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