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2 days ago
By motogp.com

Bezzecchi still VR46's "first choice" amid Petronas interest

The Italian is rumoured to have signed for Petronas Yamaha SRT but VR46 boss Pablo Nieto insists talks are still ongoing

VR46 Racing boss Pablo Nieto has insisted Moto2™ star Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46) remains their "first choice" to partner Luca Marini in 2022, despite growing interest from Petronas Yamaha SRT. Paddock reports from Austria have said the Italian is set to sign for the Malaysian outfit and replace his protege Valentino Rossi next season. However, Nieto, whilst speaking to motogp.com's pitlane reporter Simon Crafar, said talks are still ongoing and nothing is confirmed.

Aramco Racing Team VR46 are set to make their debut in the premier class next season with Luca Marini, although yet to be confirmed, guaranteed to fill one of the seats. Following Rossi's decision to retire at the end of 2021 on Thursday, it appeared Bezzecchi would be the obvious choice to fill the second seat. But, the man currently sat third in the Moto2™ World Championship, is rumoured to instead be heading to Petronas Yamaha SRT.

Nieto didn't deny the bushy-haired Italian had an offer from the Iwata factory for 2022, instead outlining the challenges of personally managing the Italian as well as the new MotoGP™ team: "It’s difficult to manage this situation because we are the VR46 Academy, we manage all of these young riders and we have to put on the table the best options for these riders. We know that we have our own team as well, so it’s a difficult situation.

"We want to have the best thing for the rider and for the team. We have to think about everything. Of course, the last thought is always with the riders and we have to decide what to do and see what all of the options are."

The 125cc Grand Prix winner was quick to point out that Bezzecchi remains Aramco Racing Team VR46's preferred option: "The first option is Marco to be the second rider, but it’s not any closer because the news [about Rossi retiring and not riding for his own team in 2022] was only from last week, so we have to talk some more and see. But he’s the first option and we like him."

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