Welcome to the rumour mill where we discuss rumours in the MotoGP paddock.
Please take all rumours with a pinch of salt as they are just RUMOURS.
This week we have had some smaller rumours but nothing too major, the biggest being Avintia leaving MotoGP and being replaced by either a VR46 Squadra or a Leopard racing team. Enea Bastianini is 99% confirmed to the team, therefore would have to become a VR46 Riders Academy rider and ditch long term sponsor Alpinestars and new helmet sponsor Suomy to join the academy on their official team, if this move was to go ahead we would almost certainly see Luca Marini ride for the team also.
However, it is also rumoured that the majorly successful Leopard Moto3 team could take over the Avintia spots with Bastianini re-linking with the team, he is still sponsored by them, it isn’t noticeable as he does not brandish their logo’s on his helmet, but in parc ferme, the grid and his pit box you will see him drinking from a Leopard logo’d bottle. Luca Marini would also join Bastianini here if this was to happen. This rumour of Avintia leaving MotoGP has been denied by the team, but so was Lorenzo to Ducati…
Now the major rumour, Luca Marini potentially going to Avintia, this is an interesting one because Tito Rabat is contracted to the team for 2021 and the team do not want to budge and kick the rider out, the same way they did with Karel Abraham, one of the reasons for this is that the Rabat family bring a lot of money to the team, sponsoring them which you will see the ‘Rabat’ Jewellers’ logo’s on the bike. If Rabat was fired, he would almost certainly take his sponsors with him.
However, Valentino Rossi who is the half-brother of Marini has openly said, “We have spoken with Ducati to have the chance to arrive in MotoGP next year with Avintia, 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.”
Sky VR46 Team manager Pablo Nieto has also confirmed he has spoken with the Avintia team about this move, the team have denied all advances so far, wanting to keep Rabat. But if the parties involved were to go over Avintia’s head to Ducati, they will gain a lot more leverage due to the power Ducati have over the team.
BUT WAIT, there is yet another twist to the tale, Rabat may leave the team himself, concentrating more on being a Moto3 rider coach with the team, opening the spot for Marini.
Some more rumours which have come out are that Albert Arenas, Ai Ogura, John McPhee, Tony Arbolino and Barry Baltus will step up to Moto2 for 2021, Arenas, Arbolino and McPhee all confirming interest in the move. Barry Baltus, on the other hand, will not remain with the Prustel GP team for 2021, citing his height as a major issue and is seeking a Moto2 move.
As we have said, do not take these rumours as fact, they are only paddock talk and hold little weight.
Featured image – www.motogp.com