Valentino Rossi goes all-in with MotoGP title targets for VR46 Ducati in 2024


Valentino Rossi is setting the highest objectives for his VR46 Racing team ahead of the 2024 MotoGP World Championship, setting riders Marco Bezzecchi and Fabio di Giannantonio a target of the title in all three tables’.

One of the most successful riders to have ever competed at motorcycle grand prix racing level, Rossi handed the baton over to the team that he founded when he retired from two-wheel competition at the end of 2021 when VR46 Racing made its premier class debut from Moto2 in 2022.

Since then, VR46 Racing has established itself as a consistent front-runner, with Bezzecchi winning three grands prix and one sprint race in 2023 en route to third overall.

For 2024, Bezzecchi remains on board, the Italian having turned down the chance to upgrade to the current-spec Ducati GP24 by moving to Pramac Racing, while di Giannantonio switches over from Gresini Racing. The team also has a new title sponsor and look courtesy of Indonesian oil giant Pertamina.

In a break with tradition though, di Giannantonio is the first rider to compete under the VR46 Racing name having been hired from outside the VR46 Academy, the programme Rossi established to nurture Italian talent to take on the quantity and quality emerging from Spain.

“We are very happy to race with Marco and Fabio, and also with the new sponsor Pertamina. It is an important relationship,” Rossi told Sky. “We arrive from a fantastic season, from last year.

“First of all, we want to win some races. This is the first target. And also, to try to fight for the championship. Also, to try to fight for the teams’ championship.”

“The line-up is great, we have to say a great thankyou to Marco. He decided to remain with our team, to give us the trust to try. The target is to improve last year’s result and to try to win races.

“On the other side we have Fabio who is not a rider from the Academy. So, for us, this is also a new experience. But, at the end of last season, he was very, very competitive so the target is to stay at that level.”

“The years have really flown by…”

Though VR46 Racing will continue with year-old Ducati machinery, he says the performances of Bezzercchi and di Giannantonio in 2023 – the latter enjoying an upsurge in form towards the end of the season, culminating in a maiden victory in Qatar – give him optimism that the team is of title-winning quality.

“It’s already been 10 years since we started working on this project and I have to say that they have really flown by.

“I didn’t think we’d make it to MotoGP, but things went well straight away and last year was unforgettable, everyone raised the bar.

“The first MotoGP victory in Argentina was the culmination of a collective dream.”

“In 2024 a lot of news awaits us: a new title partner, a new rider together with Bez, Fabio, and a technical package of the highest level.

“I am very happy with the agreement with Pertamina Enduro, the Indonesian fans have always had great affection and respect for me.”

While VR46 Racing’s immediate future in MotoGP is resolved as a result of its three-year deal with Pertamina, it is not confirmed beyond 2024 that it will remain associated with Ducati.

Indeed, there are strong rumours that Rossi will choose to align his team with Yamaha in 2025 as it looks to add a satellite spin-off to its sole factory squad.



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