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, we know what you lot are like with ya fake news.
Ah silly season, we love silly season, it’s the time of the year where insane crazy rumours get thrown around and we all sit there wondering where on earth they came from! Many are from news outlets trying to get some clicks and ad revenue for their failing Spanish media sites, others actually have some legs on them and have good sources backing them up, we’ve compiled some of the ones we have heard in the past few weeks and discussed what could happen with them.
Firstly the big one, Raul Fernandez, the rapid Moto2 rookie has blasted his way into the class in 2021 picking up two race wins and five podiums in just seven Moto2 starts, he’s locked in a Moto2 title fight with teammate Remy Gardner and many people are talking about Fernandez. The main talking point has been a move to Tech 3 KTM with his teammate Gardner very recently being hired by KTM to ride in their Tech3 squad for 2022 in MotoGP, Iker Lecuona and Danilo Petrucci are more than likely going to be ousted from the Austrian factory this year opening up a spot for Fernandez to move up to the premier class if he would like to. The thing is Fernandez has actually stated he doesn’t mind staying in Moto2 for another season confirming to DAZN that he will ‘99%’ remain with Ajo for 2022 in Moto2, the pull of a MotoGP seat clearly isn’t too much of a dangling carrot for him at this stage and he is happy to wait.
The thing is there are many rumours now that Yamaha are looking to swoop in and take Fernandez out of KTM’s hands and place him in their Petronas squad for 2022, this would be a good move for Fernandez as he is a very smooth rider who does not enjoy the feeling of the rear tyre sliding out from behind him, the Yamaha requires that smooth delicate touch of a rider to guide the bike around the track. The issue is that the Petronas Team currently run Monster Energy as a sponsor with Fernandez being a Red Bull athlete, it’s also been mentioned that he’s managed by a Red Bull exec who has ties to their ‘Wings for Life’ foundation, therefore to put it incredibly blankly, there’s no way in hell a Red Bull employee will let his Red Bull athlete rider go to a Monster Energy team.
Raul Fernandez has hugely impressed this year.
Also, we cannot forget what happened with Jorge Martin in 2020, the Spaniard had a deal for 2021 with the Tech3 team before activating a clause to leave and move to Pramac Ducati with KTM Motorsports Director Pit Beirer left incredibly disappointed given the investment they had put into Martin, they will not let another rider slip away as they did previously.
Speaking of KTM letting their riders slip away, Spanish Media DAZN has reported that the Sky VR46 team are willing to pay the €500,000 exit clause fee to get Acosta out of a 2022 contract with KTM for Moto2 and take him under their wing at Sky VR46 Moto2 making him their first non-Italian rider in their roster. Personally, I cannot see this happening, Acosta is a Red Bull athlete who wears Alpinestars leathers, Hawkers sunglasses and has deep ties to MT Helmets riding for their MT Foundation 77 team last year in the Junior World Championship, if he were to move to VR46 he’d have to change his entire team around him including his management, where he trains and he’d be forced to change to Monster Energy, run AGV Helmets and Dainese suits plus use Oakley sunglasses along with wearing a team-issued helmet design. He can no longer train with his trainer Paco with the ‘Pakosta 37 Riders Factory’ which has many riders including Dani Holgado training with them, instead, he’d be contracted to move house to Tavullia and train exclusively at the ranch and with the rest of the academy, this life is great for an Italian rider, not great for a Spanish rider.
Pedro Acosta paying respects to Andreas Perez who lost his life at Catalunya at just 14-years-old.
This change would complete strip him of any individuality he currently has and turn him into a VR46 rider, the VR46 academy is an incredible academy and you cannot fault the incredible work they’ve done, but it’s not the right move, absolutely not. You also cannot forget the fact that they have Andrea Migno and Niccolo Antonelli in the waiting for a Moto2 seat for 2022, not hiring those but instead choosing a Spanish rider would be spitting in their eyes.
Moving our attention over to Yamaha, Franco Morbidelli has confirmed to Italian media that if he remains with Yamaha for 2022 it will be with the Petronas team but he will at least get current machinery which is a massive step forward for the Italian who has seemingly been pushed aside by Yamaha despite being their best rider in 2021. The question which hovers over Morbidelli’s head is if he will stay at Yamaha, it was mentioned on our podcast that Aprilia have shown some interest in the Italian rider despite having Andrea Dovizioso on the sidelines eyeing up a full-time return for 2022 with the Noale squad, Aleix Espargaro is also going nowhere meaning it’s a choice of Franco or Andrea for the Italians.
Andrea Dovizioso is pipped for the Aprilia seat.
Now this is more speculation than anything so take this with a pinch of salt, but it’s fairly common news now that Yamaha aren’t too impressed with Maverick Vinales with Massimo Meregalli confirming on live TV that their investment in the Spaniard is not paying off, he was signed up for 2021 and 2022 before the 2020 season had even begun with Yamaha hiring their riders early to ensure there was no competition with Ducati snooping around at Vinales. Now turning our attention to Suzuki we have now seen Alex Rins score 0 points in the last 5 races with the 0’s purely his fault after crashing 5 times in 4 races then crashing into the back of a Dorna van before the Catalan GP breaking his radius.
Suzuki have kept quiet but it doesn’t take a genius to know that they will be less than impressed with these antics, Rins is unhappy at the fact that Mir won the title before him at Suzuki and is pushing too hard to try and replicate the results Mir is putting in. Rins is also signed up until the end of 2022, so with Yamaha unhappy with Vinales and Suzuki possibly potentially maybe unhappy at Rins, what about a swap? Put Vinales back on the Suzuki and Rins on a Yamaha which is where he should’ve gone originally anyway if you look at his riding style and the strengths he and the Yamaha share. A swap would give both riders a new lease of life and a chance to re-invent themselves again.
The only issue would be Yamaha putting Rins into the factory team, if this were to happen it would almost certainly annoy Franco Morbidelli.
What do you think? Should Fernandez and Acosta make a move or stay at KTM? Franco Morbidelli, Yamaha or Aprilia? And finally should Rins and Vinales swap or stay put?
Featured images – Red Bull KTM Ajo