Pecco Bagnaia is one Moto2 rider who will not be moving up to MotoGP in 2018. The Italian rookie, who has been impressive in his debut Moto2 season, scoring a podium at Jerez, is to remain with the Sky Racing Team VR46 for the following season.
Bagnaia had been linked to a couple of rides in MotoGP. Both Pramac and especially Aspar were keen to see the Italian youngster move up to MotoGP for next season, after his strong rides in Moto3 and impressive start to his Moto2 career. Bagnaia has chosen stability, however, remaining with the Sky VR46 team for a second season in Moto2.
That may yet offer him a path to MotoGP. It is an open secret in the paddock that the VR46 team wants to move up to MotoGP, with the team run by Valentino Rossi said to have been offered two grid slots for the 2019 season. If Bagnaia continues to make the progress he has already shown, it would be a natural progression for the Italian to move up to MotoGP along with the VR46 team. Whether that plan actually comes to fruition or not remains to be seen, with no news expected on that until next year.
The press release from the Sky VR46 team announcing Bagnaia's contract extension appears below:
FRANCESCO BAGNAIA AND THE SKY RACING TEAM VR46 TOGETHER ALSO IN 2018 IN MOTO2
Pecco – currently the best rookie in Moto2 - renews his commitment to the Team that supporting the Young Italian Talents of the two wheels
Bagnaia: "I'm proud to be in this big family even in 2018, for achieving important results".
Assen, June 22nd, 2017 - Francesco Bagnaia will remain in Moto2 with the Sky Racing Team VR46 in 2018. After two important second places in Jerez de la Frontera and in Le Mans, Sky and VR46 announce the renewal of the contract for the rider number 42, currently the best rookie in the intermediate category.
The deal comes in an extraordinary period of growth for Bagnaia, who has scored the first podium in Moto2 on the Andalusian track just four races from the debut in the new category in Qatar. Pecco will continue his growth path in the Team, born in 2014, to support the young Italian talents of the two wheels.
Francesco Bagnaia: "Just a year ago, I decided to face the Moto2 challenge with the Sky Racing Team VR46, a Team that, with the VR46 Riders Academy and Sky, has always supported me. Today I'm proud to say that in 2018 I will continue to work in this big family for achieving great results. With more experience I'm sure we will be able to remain close to the Top guys".
Pablo Nieto, Team Manager: "I'm really happy to confirm that Pecco will stay with us next year in Moto2. We made our debut in the new category in Qatar, but thanks to this talented rookie and his extraordinary ability to adapt his riding style to the new bike, we have already taken some nice satisfactions. His choice to stay in the Sky Racing Team VR46 is an extra injection of confidence for everybody to make even more efforts and give their 100% every weekend. As a team, we will continue to support him by providing all our professionalism, commitment and passion to help him in his grow path and to show, not only on track, his incredible talent. I'm sure we can achieve important goals together".