Valentino Rossi’s team stepped up to the premier-class by running younger brother Marini inside the Avintia squad in 2021, then took over both grid slots and added Marco Bezzecchi (plus title sponsor Mooney) last season.
Although Marini was granted GP22s and finished above Bezzecchi in the world championship, 12th vs 14th, it was the rookie who claimed VR46’s first MotoGP podium courtesy of second place (on his GP21) at Assen.
The new livery features a tweaked version of last year’s colours, including more black and the absence of a rear number plate.
“I think a race bike in black is very nice, more aggressive,” said Bezzecchi.
“I agree,” said Marini. “I like the black backing for the number plate and new details like the coloured stripes on the air intake.”
While both Marini and Bezzecchi will use GP22s this season, they are not of the same spec as Marini raced last year.
Instead, they will get the factory version of world champion Francesco Bagnaia and former team-mate Jack Miller, who homologated a slightly different engine spec.
Marini has looked instantly comfortable on the upgrades, setting the fastest lap at both winter tests so far, held at Valencia last November and then Sepang in February.
The 25-year-old was also one of the few to complete a Sprint race simulation during a ‘perfect test’ in Malaysia, when he lapped on average 0.5s quicker than Alex Rins (LCR Honda), the only other rider to try a long run.
“I’ve felt very comfortable on this bike from the beginning, the lap time and pace were strong, but for expectations, we need to wait because others were testing [parts],” Marini said.
“I want to try and use our potential in the first races while the factory teams work on their new specifications.”
2022 rookie of the year Bezzecchi was eighth fastest at the Sepang test and within half-a-second of his team-mate.
“The connection with the gas is the main difference [for the GP22 compared to the GP21] and also the aero I really like,” said Bezzecchi.
VR46 withdrew from direct Moto3 participation at the end of 2020 to concentrate on the new MotoGP project, with its Moto2 team taken over by Fantic for 2023. VR46 will continue to run the Yamaha Master Camp Moto2 team.
Contracted to Ducati until the end of 2024, there are rumours that VR46 could link up with Yamaha as its new satellite MotoGP team in future.