Addressing VR46’s MotoGP Conflict of Interest Involving Bezzecchi

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As the year ends, Marco Bezzecchi’s MotoGP contract with VR46 is also due to expire. Interestingly, the entity that he represents and his racing team, the Ducati team, are owned by the same corporation and are currently negotiating to extend his contract.

The Italian, in his sophomore season in MotoGP, has emerged as an unexpected contender in the title race. The 24-year-old took over from Enea Bastianini and has shown impressive performances on a year-old bike. With two grand prix wins (in Argentina and France) and four podiums, Bezzecchi is currently third in the overall standings going into round nine at Silverstone in early August. He is merely a point behind Jorge Martin (Pramac) and 36 points adrift of championship leader Pecco Bagnaia.

This extraordinary improvement has garnered market attention for the 2024 season, and simultaneously highlighted the intricate management situation for VR46. The task for rider representatives usually involves securing the best deal for their clients in both financial and sporting aspects. This process often brings about a conflict with the team executives who are protecting their own interests.

But what if the team and rider representation is the same entity? VR46 attempted to address this by dividing its operational aspect into two separate bodies at the start of the year: the Team and the Academy.

On the surface, this strategy seems logical, yet it doesn’t completely eliminate the problem, which is apparent in Bezzecchi’s case concerning his near future. The two divisions’ approach, however, emphasizes the rider’s well-being in every aspect over the preferences of the Mooney-backed team and the Academy.

In an ideal scenario, the significant progress Bezzecchi made this year would prompt his agents to seek a spot for him at Pramac. This team, headed by Paolo Campinoti, acts like a secondary factory team for Ducati, receiving more support from the Borgo Panigale manufacturer. However, this option is not the priority, says Uccio Salucci, team manager at Mooney VR46.

Bezzecchi has proven to be a consistent competitor this year on his year-old VR46 Ducati, and might continue to do so next year.

For Bezzecchi, he feels content in his current setup and sees no reason to shift. While Salucci naturally wants to keep Bezzecchi, he is also trying to enhance the team’s position as a satellite team of Ducati.

Salucci has asked Ducati’s general manager, Gigi Dall’Igna, for an official bike for Marco in 2024, along with a direct contract with the factory, the same conditions that Martin and Zarco have. If Ducati doesn’t fulfill these requests, Bezzecchi might shift to Pramac, according to Salucci.

At this point, Bezzecchi and the Academy need to weigh in.

Negotiating with Salucci feels similar to negotiating with Lin Jarvis from Yamaha, says Francesco Secchiaroli, who is signed with VR46 for 2023 and handles Bezzecchi and Marini. Honesty, according to Secchiaroli, is the key in this potential conflict.

The ultimate decision rests with Ducati, which must address all the requests it receives and fulfill its commitments. These commitments include not only managing the official team (Bagnaia and Bastianini) but also supplying Pramac, VR46, and the Gresini team’s Alex Marquez and Fabio di Giannantonio.

While Ducati’s sporting director, Paolo Ciabatti, acknowledges the requests from Mooney regarding Bezzecchi, he cannot guarantee to fulfill all the demands, particularly concerning the equipment.

VR46, on the other hand, has its technicians Matteo Flamini and David Munoz who work on the Bezzecchi and Marini groups respectively, while Pramac relies more on Ducati staff.

Ciabatti is working on a solution that will satisfy all parties, including the rider and the Academy, the Mooney team, Pramac, and Ducati. Only time will tell whether Bagnaia and Bezzecchi will face each other on equal terms next year.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about MotoGP contract negotiations

When does Marco Bezzecchi’s MotoGP contract with VR46 expire?

Bezzecchi’s contract with VR46 is set to expire at the end of the current year.

Who is currently leading the championship?

As of the ninth round at Silverstone in early August, the championship leader is Pecco Bagnaia.

What steps has VR46 taken to handle its conflict of interest?

VR46 has split its operational structure into two distinct bodies – the Team and the Academy – to manage the conflict of interest.

What is the priority for VR46’s two divisions in handling Bezzecchi’s situation?

The priority for the two divisions is the rider’s well-being in all aspects, prioritizing it over the preferences of the Mooney-backed team and the Academy.

What request has Uccio Salucci, team boss at Mooney VR46, made to Ducati’s general manager?

Salucci has asked for an official bike for Marco Bezzecchi in 2024 and a contract directly with the factory, similar to the conditions that Martin and Zarco have.

Who will have a say in the final decision regarding Bezzecchi’s contract negotiations?

In the final decision, both Bezzecchi and the Academy will need to weigh in.

More about MotoGP contract negotiations

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TwoWheelTony July 5, 2023 - 2:31 am

VR46 seem to have their hands full. managing the team and the rider, bit of a conflict there i reckon. Still they’re handling it well, kudos!

PistonPete July 5, 2023 - 4:47 am

So it all comes down to what Ducati decides, huh? interesting. they hold all the cards here.

GearshiftGary July 5, 2023 - 6:01 am

Bezzecchi vs Bagnaia next year on equal machinery. now that’s a duel I’d pay to see!! get it done, ducati!

MotorheadMike July 5, 2023 - 12:50 pm

This Bezzecchi guy is pretty solid, ain’t he? Definitely got some skills. Could go far, just hope Ducati backs him proper.

RacingRita July 5, 2023 - 4:36 pm

Bezzecchi on a factory bike for 2024 would be a treat to watch. Hope they get the deal done… fingers crossed


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