We’re only five rounds into the 2023 campaign but already the so-called MotoGP™ silly season is in full flow – as it always is.
After his stellar start to the Moto2™ season, one name is being heavily linked to a move up to MotoGP™ for 2024. That name is Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team). Likewise to title rival Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo), the Italian looks like one of the more likely candidates to move into the premier class if a move is available. Unlike Acosta with KTM, Arbolino isn’t heavily affiliated with a factory, meaning his potential MotoGP™ destination isn’t as clear as his Spanish counterpart’s.
In a recent interview with Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport, Arbolino hinted that he deserves a MotoGP™ seat – or to be talked about moving into one – just as much as Acosta does. “Pedro has nothing more than me” commented Arbolino to Gazzetta, with the latter currently 25 points clear of the 2021 Moto3™ World Champion after his French GP victory.
Fuelling some of the Arbolino to MotoGP™ talk was Ducati Corse Sporting Director Paolo Ciabatti. Speaking to motogp.com in France, Ciabatti mentioned Arbolino’s name when chatting about riders Ducati are keeping an eye on.
“Yeah, Pedro (Acosta) is one of the most promising riders since his Moto3™ years and we know he has a connection with KTM, which is understandable. Tony Arbolino is also doing a good job. Let's see, it's a little too early, we need a couple more races before considering next year,” said Ciabatti.
Moto2™ race recap: Acosta and Arbolino go wheel-to-wheel
Ducati and every other MotoGP™ manufacturer won’t rush a decision. Three races remain before the summer break arrives, and it’s around that time when factories will start to finalise their plans for 2024. But if Arbolino is to move up to MotoGP™ next season, Ducati could be the 22-year-old’s most likely destination – in particular, Gresini Racing MotoGP™.
Obviously, that depends on whether Ducati would like to keep Fabio Di Giannantonio on their books next to Alex Marquez. It’s not been the easiest of seasons for Di Giannantonio so far, but again, Ducati aren’t going to rush into any decision-making at this stage of the season. Ciabatti made that clear.
In addition, Carlo Pernat, Arbolino’s manager, also said it’s “too early” to speak about Arbolino moving up to the premier class to Speedweek.com, but the wise Italian is closely linked with Gresini Racing after Enea Bastianini’s (Ducati Lenovo Team) success with the team – the Italian another rider Pernat manages.
Discussions will be ongoing behind the scenes about 2024 across every factory. Arbolino will be a name that is near the top of the most-wanted lists after his sensational start to 2023, so it’s a story to keep your eyes on over the coming months.
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