Aprilia’s loss as Enea Bastianini, Gresini commit to Ducati for 2022 MotoGP

Gresini Racing's split from Aprilia also secured the services of the 2021 MotoGP rookie standout Enea Bastianini after the Noale brand pushed hard for him

Enea Bastianini - Gresini Ducati

Amid the new riders and fresh line-ups preparing for the start of the 2022 MotoGP World Championship, the return to Gresini Racing as a team in its own right is surely one of the most poignant talking points for the new season.

The stalwart Italian outfit - which has competed in the GP ranks since 1997 - returns to privateer status for the first time since 2015 after ending its involvement in the factory-backed Aprilia Racing project in favour of teaming up with Ducati.

Best-known for its successes with Honda, with whom it has won 10 MotoGP races, Gresini was initially instrumental in developing the temperamental Aprilia RS-GP, but is said to have become increasingly surplus to requirement in the latter campaigns as the Noale manufacturer prepared to go in-house for 2022.

While many expected Gresini Racing to revert to shadowing the factory effort with its own satellite Aprilia team for 2022, the eponymous Fausto Gresini had agreed to join forces with Ducati shortly before his untimely death due to complications from a COVID infection.

However, Gresini wasn’t Aprilia’s only loss ahead of 2022 with talk emerging it made a significant offer to lure 2020 Moto2 World Champion Enea Bastianini prior to its snapping up Maverick Vinales, but the Italian - a double podium winner in his rookie season - turning it down because of the RS-GP s competitiveness.

While Bastianini’s presence at Gresini - alongside Fabio Di Giannantonio - has guaranteed a supply of the Ducati GP21 that dominated towards the end of the 2021 MotoGP season, the late decision by title backer Flex Box to back out of the sport means the Italian outfit is operating on a much smaller budget than expected. 

It has put Gresini Racing on the back foot in terms of re-establishing its equipment and staff members following its split with Aprilia.

“There isn't a big change because the entire set-up in the paddock belongs to Gresini,” commercial director Carlo Merlini told Speedweek.

“Even the launch pads that the Aprilia Gresini project used for the past seven years were ours. The truck trailers are from Gresini, as is the hospitality. All the equipment, the cargo crates, it all belonged to Gresini. 

“And we even had the time to organize two new trailers for the coming year. At the first European Grand Prix 2022 in Portimão you will see two brand new double-decker trailers.

“I would also like to remind you that before our Aprilia era, we ran a Honda satellite team from 1997 to 2014. We are now, so to speak, what we were before our time with Aprilia, »emphasized the Italian.”

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