Rossi has now retired from MotoGP following his 432nd grand prix at the Valencia GP last weekend, bringing an illustrious 26-season career to a close.
But the Italian legend will still have a presence in the MotoGP paddock in 2022 as he brings his VR46 squad up from Moto2 into the premier class with Ducati machinery.
This was first announced earlier in 2021, but was immediately shrouded in controversy as a reported title sponsorship deal with Saudi Arabian oil giant Aramco was denied by the company – contradicting what was said in a press release issued by Tanal Entertainment.
Both VR46 and Tanal Entertainment continued to insist that a deal with Aramco did exist, but Aramco told Autosport in two separate statements that no deal had – or ever did – exist.
During the Emilia Romagna GP VR46 team boss Pablo Nieto admitted progress was slow on the VR46 deal but things were moving forward.
However, no new information on that front has been forthcoming, with the entry list for 2022 unveiled by governing body the FIM listing Rossi’s squad as simply the VR46 Racing Team.
The team will field Luca Marini, who raced an Avintia Ducati in VR46 colours in 2021, and Moto2 graduate Marco Bezzecchi next year.
Luca Marini, Esponsorama Racing
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Marini will ride a factory-spec Ducati for his second season, while Bezzecchi – who will sport the number 72 – will race a GP21.
VR46 takes over the grid slots from the Avintia squad, who departed the premier class at the conclusion of last weekend’s Valencia GP.
Tech3 MotoGP rookies Raul Fernandez and 2021 Moto2 world champion Remy Gardner will keep their race numbers from Moto2, with Fernandez using 25 and Gardner 87.
RNF Racing rookie Darryn Binder, who makes the jump straight from Moto3 to MotoGP next year on a Yamaha, will keep his number 40.
New world champion Fabio Quartararo announced after his title win that he would not run the number one plate in 2022, with the entry list confirming his 20 on the front of his factory Yamaha.
Next year Aprilia will become a standalone factory squad, while Gresini Racing returns to independent status with Ducati machinery.
Fielding Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales, Aprilia is yet to announced a title partner.
The FIM has also unveiled the Moto2 and Moto3 entry lists for 2022, with the most notable thing being 2021 Moto3 world champion Pedro Acosta switching to 51 as his 37 is being used by Augusto Fernandez.
Preparations for the 2022 season will get underway on Thursday with a two-day test at Jerez.
Full MotoGP 2022 entry list:
4 ANDREA DOVIZIOSO – WITHU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team
5 JOHANN ZARCO – Pramac Racing
10 LUCA MARINI – VR46 Racing Team
12 MAVERICK VINALES – Aprilia Racing
20 FABIO QUARTARARO – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP
21 FRANCO MORBIDELLI – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP
23 ENEA BASTIANINI – Gresini Racing MotoGP
25 RAUL FERNANDEZ – Tech3 KTM Factory Racing
30 TAKAAKI NAKAGAMI – LCR Honda
33 BRAD BINDER – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
36 JOAN MIR – Team Suzuki Ecstar
40 DARRYN BINDER – WITHU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team
41 ALEIX ESPARGARO – Aprilia Racing
42 ALEX RINS – Team Suzuki Ecstar
43 JACK MILLER – Ducati Lenovo Team
44 POL ESPARGARO – Repsol Honda Team
49 FABIO DIGIANNANTONIO – Gresini Racing MotoGP
63 FRANCESCO BAGNAIA – Ducati Lenovo Team
72 MARCO BEZZECCHI – VR46 Racing Team
73 ALEX MARQUEZ – LCR Honda
87 REMY GARDNER – Tech3 KTM Factory Racing
88 MIGUEL OLIVEIRA – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
89 JORGE MARTIN – Pramac Racing
93 MARC MARQUEZ – Repsol Honda Team