until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


The big repercussions of Bezzecchi leaving Rossi's MotoGP team

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
5 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

It is further testament to Aprilia's progress in recent years that Maverick Vinales' defection to Tech3 for 2025 immediately made his current, to-be-vacated ride the most attractive destination on the MotoGP market - and that Aprilia clearly did not have to work very long or hard for another proven winner to come on board.

But Marco Bezzecchi making the move from VR46 Ducati, as logical as it is, does create more ripple effects in a silly season that appears to be winding down but has room for another twist or two.

Here's our view of the biggest consequences of Bezzecchi's promotion.

VR46 slot opens up for Morbidelli

Franco Morbidelli and Valentino Rossi

Franco Morbidelli has not had a good time in MotoGP since his 2020 emergence as a star - but he has never truly felt under major threat to drop off the grid, given his status as VR46's original success story and the fact Valentino Rossi still surely has enough pull in the paddock to ensure Morbidelli finds a place somewhere.

But now, with Bezzecchi vacating a spot at Rossi's team, Morbidelli feels like the obvious replacement for him.

There is probably still a scenario in which Morbidelli stays at Pramac, given he's finally showing flashes of speed on the Ducati after his very compromised pre-season.

But the more riders are taken off the board, the less likely Pramac staying with Ducati feels given the dearth of available riders who could keep the team anywhere near its current Jorge Martin-led heights in 2025. That lucrative Yamaha offer can only look more tempting.

And, with Ducati's rider ranks ever-depleted and the VR46 team having long indicated it would welcome Morbidelli with open arms when the time was right, it feels like a perfect match.

The only other VR46 Academy rider who could be in play to replace Bezzecchi is Moto2's Celestino Vietti, but his current intermediate-class form suggests he will be a distant second priority to sorting out Morbidelli's future.

Things clear up for Di Giannantonio

Fabio Di Giannantonio

Bezzecchi had dominated his current team-mate Fabio Di Giannantonio (then at Gresini) when they were MotoGP rookies on the same machinery in 2022 respectively, and - for the most part - when they were MotoGP sophomores, too.

But in their third year together, despite them now being paired up at a VR46 structure you'd expect to be more tailored towards Bezzecchi, Di Giannantonio has been clearly ahead.

Maybe Bezzecchi has had the slightly loftier highs this year still. But Di Giannantonio has posted nine top-seven finishes (across sprints and grands prix) to Bezzecch's measly two, so it would not have been a massive shock if Aprilia had gone the other way with its decision for who will partner Martin.

But it hasn't. What it has done is remove another rider from the Ducati equation, making Di Giannantonio if not indispensable than at least self-evidently valuable in the customer Desmosedici structure.

If Pramac stays, somehow, it is virtually impossible to foresee a scenario in which Di Giannantonio gets left without a Ducati. But even if Pramac goes, Di Giannantonio should be able to further extend a MotoGP career that looked done and dusted a year ago, and do so in a good place.

Either current team VR46 or former team Gresini will surely have him.

It could depend on which of the two teams gets the Ducati factory-contracted Fermin Aldeguer - Gresini seems to have closer commercial ties to Ducati, but VR46 was already keen on Aldeguer last year.

Fermin Aldeguer

But Aldeguer's situation may also open a path for Di Giannantonio to get factory-spec machinery for the first time. Aldeguer's manager Hector Faubel - you will know him as a former 125cc title contender with Aprilia - has recently confirmed to Mundo Deportivo that the 19-year-old is not actually guaranteed a factory Ducati next year.

Instead, Ducati can place him on a GP24 or GP25 next year. Only for 2026 does it owe him the latest model - you may recognise this as the exact same contractual arrangement it had made with Pecco Bagnaia for his MotoGP debut.

But if Aldeguer starts off with a GP24, who should get the corresponding GP25? Right now, there is no more deserving rider out there than Di Giannantonio.

Trackhouse (and Aprilia) can get to work

Miguel Oliveira Trackhouse Aprilia Mugello MotoGP 2024

Bezzecchi's Aprilia deal removes the final 'good' factory seat from the market. Only two are now nominally available - Alex Rins's at Yamaha and Joan Mir's at Honda - and according to Spanish Motorsport.com Mir's going nowhere. Although there have also been seemingly conflicting suggestions Honda may be earmarking a ride for Toprak Razgatlioglu if he wants to move at MotoGP at any cost.

Rins's situation appears surprisingly murkier, but every single satellite team that still has openings is in any case ahead of the works Yamaha outfit in the standings, because the M1 just isn't there yet.

Now that Aprilia's factory line-up is sorted, Aprilia should - and probably will - help its satellite squad Trackhouse maximise its 2025 roster.

After all, Aprilia CEO Massimo Rivola has already suggested he is both aligned with Trackhouse boss Davide Brivio on this matter and will at least play some role in the selection process - and he has made it clear he believes there are good options with premier-class experience on the market.

Ultimately, Trackhouse might just stand pat and decide Miguel Oliveira and Raul Fernandez are still the path forward. It would not be an outrageous conclusion to draw from the current state of the market.

But the free agent pool is not totally depleted. At the very least, if I were Brivio, I'd give my former Suzuki rider Rins a call to see if everything was smooth with Yamaha and if there was any way he would consider a reunion.

The other option is to go for the best available Moto2 talent, which Trackhouse should be in a good position to do while all the Ducati teams are scrambling to figure out which of them will still be Ducati teams next year.

That 'best available talent', I would argue, isn't 'USA synergy pick' Joe Roberts - but championship leader Sergio Garcia.

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