‘...but am I obsessed?’ | The rider questioning his own place in MotoGP 

Is rookie Fabio di Giannantonio questioning whether he has what it takes to succeed at the highest level of the MotoGP World Championship?

Fabio di Giannantonio - Gresini Ducati

You’d be hard pressed to find any rider in the Grand Prix paddock who doesn’t have designs on competing on reaching the premier class with a coveted spot on the MotoGP grid.

Of course, with only 22 seats available and even larger fields at both Moto2 and Moto3 level - not to mention external series’ such as WorldSBK - the odds of a young up-and-comer landing a MotoGP deal are modest.

But, generally speaking, each of those riders will believe they have what it takes to reach MotoGP, even the ones that deep down know they won’t ever quite get to the top.

So what happens when a rider does get to MotoGP, but once there, starts to question whether they have the mindset and ability to capitalise on it?

It’s a mental hurdle that rookie Fabio di Giannantonio appears to be coming up against following a stark - yet refreshingly - honest assessment of his own abilities following the penultimate round of the season in Malaysia.

In a lengthy post on his Instagram account, Gresini Ducati rider di Giannantonio - who suffered a DNF at Sepang - admits he is having ‘less and less fun’, before appearing to question whether he has the ‘obsession’ required to shine at such a ‘high level’.

“19th race of the season, the weekend trend is still the same. Unfortunately we don’t get better, we don’t solve problems, so we can’t be faster. The fact is that this season I've had less and less fun riding my motorcycle. But I’m not talking about the motorcycle itself eh, absolutely! Ducati MotoGP is the most extraordinary and incredible ride I've ever ridden and I'm grateful to have the opportunity to drive it.

“I had less fun and the results didn't come. Through it all what have I learned? Hey... I learned that the level in MotoGP is very high and you don't leave anything to chance, and then I think that the game is just this... working, hard, working really hard, planning, studying, analyzing, believing, trusting, thinking through everything, not neglecting any detail, being OBSESSED.

“Yes because in the end the question is... but you, are you OBSESSED? Because just by saying yes you can put yourself against the greatest of this sport. I'm in my thoughts at the airport, Valencia in two weeks, race I'll face with the mindset to do well, very well, as I always did. Then another chapter opens, who knows knows...

“Sorry for the long run just wanted to chat

Is Fabio di Giannantonio being too harsh on himself?

Arguably the lesser known of the five riders making their MotoGP debut this season, di Giannantonio stepped up from Moto2 with the Gresini Ducati team this season.

A multiple race and podium winner in the Moto3 and Moto2 classes, di Giannantonio’s route to MotoGP was effectively determined way back in 2020 after he was taken under the wing of late team owner Fausto Gresini.

Though Gresini himself would tragically pass away from complications related to him contracting COVID-19, the agreement was honoured by his widow and new team owner Nadia Padovani.

By all accounts, di Giannantonio has enjoyed a solid first year in MotoGP. With one round remaining, di Giannantonio sits 20th in the overall standings but is the second best-placed rookie.

While points’ scoring finishes have been limited to just five trips to the top fifteen, his campaign has included a best result of eighth at the Sachsenring, while he made headlines at Mugello with a shock pole position in iffy conditions.

However, though he is riding a year-old Ducati, di Giannantonio has been resoundingly outclassed by team-mate Enea Bastianini, while he is the lowest placed Desmosedici rider on the grid.

Despite the doubts, di Giannantonio will be on the grid again next year with Gresini Ducati, where he will be joined by Alex Marquez, who swaps from LCR Honda.