2022 will be the first Grand Prix season without Valentino Rossi since 1995. While The Doctor’s presence on and off the grid will be sorely missed, his racing spirit will live on through the Mooney VR46 MotoGP team. At this point, every premier class team has officially unveiled its 2022 livery—except the VR46 squad.
In typical Vale fashion, the team left the theatrics for the very last minute, pulling the covers off the Mooney VR46 Ducati Desmosedici less than two weeks before the first round of the 2022 season. The design integrates the black and trademark fluorescent yellow of the VR46 banner with title sponsor Mooney’s ochre yellow and dark gray color scheme.
The look is a far departure from the Sky Racing Team VR46 livery from the 2021 season. Rossi’s half-brother Luca Marini piloted that bike and he will return to the VR46 box in 2022. He will be joined by VR46 Academy Rider and MotoGP rookie Marco Bezzecchi after moving up from the Moto2 ranks this season.
“It has been a long way since Moto3, but now we are ready to make our debut in MotoGP with a VR46 team and four young riders (including Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli and Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia) who I know will give their 100 percent,” stated Rossi. “It is the closing of a circle for me and also for all the people who have worked with so much passion on this project over the years. At the same time, it is a great debut and the beginning of a new chapter of this beautiful story in MotoGP”
Before the livery unveiling, Bezzecchi and Marini showed encouraging results at the Malaysian and Indonesian pre-season tests. With the practice sessions for the opening round at Qatar starting in seven days, the two young guns are finally suited and booted to carry on Valentino Rossi’s legacy.