MotoGP: Esponsorama Racing confirm the signings of Luca Marini and Enea Bastianini for 2021
Luca Marini and Enea Bastianini will move up into the premier class next season after signing for Esponsorama Racing Ducati.
Marini will continue under the SKY Racing Team VR46 colours in MotoGP, hinting that this is the first step towards a full takeover from Valentino Rossi's team. Bastianini will run under the original Esponsorama Racing colours - meaning the riders will have seperate liveries despite being in the same team.
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Marini the third VR46 Academy rider to join the premier class, joining Franco Morbidelli and Francesco Bagnaia. His move means that he'll have the opportunity to race alongside his brother (Rossi) before he retires.
Before injuring his ankle at Le Mans Marini was in control of the Moto2 title battle. However, he now sits 23 points behind Sam Lowes in third spot. The Italian has three races wins and two further podiums.
"Competing in MotoGP is every rider’s dream," Marini admitted. "Having this great opportunity and being able to share it with the Sky Racing Team VR46, Esponsorama Racing and Ducati is even better.
"In these years with the team I have gained experience, I have grown and I have achieved the first important results. We are in a crucial phase of the season; we will continue to work hard to reach the maximum goal before making this big step together."
Meanwhile, Bastianini is Lowes' nearest challenger for the Moto2 crown. He is only seven points behind the Brit after taking two victories and a further five podiums so far in 2020.
"I am very happy to go up to MotoGP with Ducati and Esponsorama Racing," Bastianini said. "Now I have to concentrate on finishing the season as I would like to go up as World Champion, although I know it will not be easy.
"Next season several riders will make the leap to MotoGP, we will start a new adventure together with the fastest riders in the world in which I think that together with the team I will be able to achieve good results."
Today's announcment means that Ducati have three premier class rookies joining their setup next season. Jorge Martin will also make his MotoGP debut alongside Johann Zarco at Pramac Racing Ducati. Jack Miller and Francesco Bagania have been promoted to the factory team.
Tito Rabat will not be on the MotoGP grid in 2021, bringing to an end a five-year stay in the premier class for the 2014 Moto2 champion.