Valentino Rossi's VR46 team not targeting place on 2017 MotoGP grid

Seven-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi has dismissed the notion that his VR46 team could join him in the premier class next year

Valentino Rossi's VR46 team not targeting place on 2017 MotoGP grid

The Italian started VR46 in 2014 in Moto3, coinciding with the establishment of his own riders academy, the outfit fielding Romano Fenati, Nicolo Bulega and Andrea Migno in the 2016 series.

In addition to KTM's two-bike return as a factory outfit next year, MotoGP organisers invited expressions of interest for a 24th licence last month, with proposals to be lodged by April 29.

Reports from Spanish television on Saturday suggested VR46 was targeting the position - separate to Rossi's new two-year Yamaha deal - but Rossi said it was not the case, with his team instead keen to move up to Moto2.

When asked if there was truth to the rumours, Rossi said: "No.

"I hear this and I know that MotoGP has one free place.

"I spoke with Carmelo [Ezpeleta, Dorna CEO] but for us it's impossible, we are not able to make a MotoGP team and also we are not interested.

"But also because I think next year, together with Sky [Italy, VR46's major partner], we arrive in Moto2, we try to make one bike in Moto2 and this is enough.

"It's not true, we don't want to make any MotoGP team."

The Pons team is among the expected contenders for the 24th place on the grid, in what would be a return to the premier class for the first time since 2005.

Pons maintains a presence in the paddock through its Moto2 outfit, and announced in March that it was leaving the four-wheeled Formula V8 3.5 Series.

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