The entry list for the 2022 MotoGP season has been revealed, and Valentino Rossi’s VR46 team is still without a title sponsor after controversy surrounding a supposed deal with Saudi Arabian petroleum company Aramco.
The Italian icon, who won seven world championships in a stellar career which came to an end after his retirement from riding following Sunday’s Valencia Grand Prix, will move his VR46 squad up from Moto 2 to the elite-level series for the first time in 2022.
The ascension of his team was announced earlier in 2021, but VR46 and Aramco have been locked in a dispute ever since, with the the former insisting an agreement was signed for the latter to become title sponsor of the squad, while the oil giant vehemently denies an agreement has ever existed. Aramco is set to take over the title sponsorship of the Mercedes Formula 1 team next season, with the Malaysian oil firm Petronas losing out after first beginning its agreement with the team when it joined the sport back in 2010.
Entering the premier class of grand prix motorcycle racing without a title sponsor would leave VR46 with a significant financial disadvantage compared to its rivals, and likely mean they will spend the immediate future fighting at the back of the grid.
Two Italians will be the face of Rossi’s new venture, with 24-year-old Luca Marini set to join Marco Bezzecchi in his rookie season. The squad will be taking over the grid places left behind by the Avintia Ducati outfit, who have departed the championship after the conclusion of the season in Valencia.
Other interesting insights from the entry list released by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme include confirmation that 22-year-old world champion Fabio Quartararo will continue using the number 20 rather than taking the number 1 he is entitled to after becoming the first Frenchman in history to secure the title, while Gresini racing becomes an independent squad again and will shift from Aprilia to Ducati machinery for this campaign.
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