Valentino Rossi has denied the report that he is chasing the final license for the 2017 MotoGP grid, and says his plan is to graduate his Team VR46 squad to Moto2.
Speaking in the press conference after qualifying for the Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, Rossi spoke about the story which was aired by Motorsport.com columnist Ernest Riveras on Spanish TV.
“No, I hear this and I know that in MotoGP there is one free place,” said Rossi. “I spoke with Carmelo [Ezpeleta, Dorna CEO], but for us it’s impossible – we are not able to make a MotoGP team, and also we’re not interested because next year, together with Sky, we arrive in Moto2 and one bike there is enough.
“It’s not true, we don’t want to make any MotoGP team.”
“We don't have the dimensions and the structures”
Speaking to the Italian press shortly afterwards, Rossi clarified: “I actually haven't spoken with Carmelo. They looked for us, not Carmelo directly, and they told us about this possibility of having one more bike in MotoGP.
“But it's not so easy to make a MotoGP team and we don't have the people, we don't have the dimensions and the structures. Then, sincerely, the most important thing is that it's not in our interest at the moment because our aim is to help young Italian riders to go to MotoGP.
“Then, in MotoGP everything changes. I'm almost sure that next year we'll do a Moto2 with Sky and this will already take us a lot of time and lot of efforts. Then stop.
"It could be two Moto3 and one Moto2, with Italian riders. According to me, given our size, with Moto3 and Moto2 we can have some satisfactions."
When asked if he could see his team graduating to MotoGP in the long term, he added: "Right now, I'd say no. But I learned that one never should say never."
Earlier in the day, reacting to Riveras's story on TV, Rossi's Moto3 team manager Pablo Nieto told Movistar: “We’d like to have a team in MotoGP, but it’s only an idea we’ve started to think about.”