Valentino Rossi is pushing hard to have his own team in MotoGP next year, according to Motorsport.com columnist Ernest Riveras.
Three MotoGP licences become available next year, to increase the grid to 24, two of which are guaranteed for the new KTM works team.
The final licence has become hot property, with an extra entry for Honda satellite team LCR and a return to the top class for Sito Pons’ squad all on the table.
However, during his Movistar TV commentary in FP4, Riveras revealed that Rossi is chasing the entry for his own team.
Rossi himself has renewed his riding contract with the works Yamaha team for 2017-18.
It is understood that Rossi – in a team-owner capacity – wishes to enter either a Yamaha M1, with factory support, or a third KTM – the manufacturer that supplies his Moto3 team.
Giant of the sport
With Rossi moving towards the end of his MotoGP career, the 37-year-old Italian remains the lynchpin of the sport.
His Sky Racing Team VR46, currently competing in Moto3, is considered to be his main opportunity to continue his association with motorbike racing when he hangs up his helmet.
He launched Team VR46 in the Moto3 class in 2014, guiding the career of Italy’s Romano Fenati during the past two seasons, and also running Andrea Migno and Nicolo Bulega this season.
It would be more likely that Rossi’s team would run an experienced MotoGP rider to begin with, as this would come too soon for his VR46 Academy roster.
Rossi said of his squad at the start of the year: “The team was created just over a year ago and we still need to improve in many areas, but we have already done well.”
Previously, Rossi has denied interest in bringing his team to MotoGP, telling Gazzetta dello Sport in March: “MotoGP is another story. It doesn't interest us much.
“In Moto2 and Moto3, you can have satisfactions – then it's hard.”
His team is managed on a day-to-day basis by Pablo Nieto.
Reacting to Riveras's story, Nieto told Movistar: “We’d like to have a team in MotoGP, but it’s only an idea we’ve started to think about.”