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Valentino Rossi is to back a Moto3 team showcasing Italian talent from next season. The Italian will work with Sky Italia, the broadcaster who will be taking over the broadcast rights for MotoGP from next season, to field a pair of riders including current FMI Italia rider Romano Fenati on KTM machines.

Sky Italia will be the main sponsor, while Rossi’s VR46 clothing and merchandise brand will provide support and backing for the project.

The aim of project is to help bring young Italian talent into Grand Prix racing. This was also the aim of the Italian motorcycling federation when they set up the FMI Italia team with Romano Fenati and Francesco Bagnaia, but the FTR Hondas have been no match for the superior horsepower of the KTMs this season.

The Sky Italia / VR46 team have elected to race with KTM machinery, giving them a better chance of fighting on an equal footing.

The confirmation that Rossi will back the Sky Moto3 team comes after weeks of intense speculation that the nine-times World Champion was preparing to get involved in Moto3. Rossi had denied reports that he would manage a team, a denial which is strictly true. Rossi’s involvement will be at a greater remove, through backing from his merchandising company.

Who will be involved in running the team is yet to be announced. The second rider alongside Fenati is also still to be announced, though speculiation continues to mount that Rossi will find a slot for his half brother, Luca Marini. Marini made his Moto3 debut at the last round at Misano, but crashed out on the first lap.

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.