VR46 Ducati MotoGP boss Alessio Salucci has confirmed that the squad is looking to Moto2 to replace the outgoing Luca Marini for 2024 while ruling out Fabio Di Gianantonio.
Speaking to MotoGP.com on Friday in Qatar, Salucci gave as close to a full confirmation as possible that Marini would be leaving the Valentino Rossi-owned operation to switch to the factory Repsol Honda outfit for 2024 at the end of the year.
He revealed that the team is currently searching for “a young rider” currently running in Moto2, Salucci ruling out the 25-year-old Di Gianantonio, who lost his Gresini seat to outgoing Honda rider Marc Marquez even though he is currently impressing towards the front of the field over the last few events.
Current intermediate class form-man Fermin Aldeguer is currently in pole position to secure the VR46 berth having won the past two races, though Salucci also conceded that Marc VDS’ Tony Arbolino – who secured the accolade of 2023 Moto2 vice-champion in last weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix – is also “an option.”
“Luca (Marini), maybe next year he is not with us. You have to talk to Honda to know the details of the contract because we don’t know the level of this contract,” explained Salucci to MotoGP.com.
“I speak for my team and for Luca’s replacement, we are not considering (Fabio) Di Giannantonio. We want a young rider on our bike.
“When you lose a rider like Marini in November it is difficult. We have to discuss and talk with the different teams.
“Our option is not only (Fermin) Aldeguer, there are more riders and teams. Tony Arbolino is an option. I like Tony, he is fast and he is Italian. He is another name, but he is not the only one. We will see in the next 4 days.
“I have slept very little in the last week. Pablo is working very hard. We are trying to get our team ready to be able to test with both drivers. The times are very tight, we will see. Not having both drivers in the test is an extreme possibility. But you never know in this world.”