Valentino Rossi has rejected a report claiming he is in talks to sell his VR46 team to Saudi Arabian Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al Saud.
VR46 is linked to the Prince though an apparent sponsorship deal with the predominantly state-owned Aramco petrochemical company, a deal about which there remains some scepticism.
However, a report from Italy’s Il Sole 24 Ore earlier this week claimed that Rossi was also negotiating to sell the team altogether, with a figure of EUR 150 million suggested.
That was put to the retiring champion by Italian media at this weekend’s Michelin Grand Prix of Styria, where he denied the rumour.
“It is absolutely not true that we want to sell VR46 to the Saudis,” said Rossi after Friday practice at the Red Bull Ring.
“This is just made-up news; we don’t even think about it.
“We like it, we have our whole world there and it’s something that I have no idea how it came out.”
Tanal Entertainment Sport & Media, the holding company owned by the Prince which announced the Aramco sponsorship in April, advised last weekend that it would be holding a press conference in coming days.
That press conference, which would cover a wide range of activities but have “special emphasis” on the VR46 partnership, is yet to take place.
“As for Tanal, I don’t know much about this press conference,” said Rossi.
“Our lawyers and accountants are working in VR46, who are trying to do everything.
“But maybe I’m not the right man to talk about these things, because I know up to a point.”
Exactly what the relationship between Aramco and VR46 is remains unknown, given the company has reportedly denied knowledge of any agreement.