Gresini confirms Ducati, Bastianini and di Giannantonio for indy MotoGP comeback

Gresini Racing confirms Enea Bastianini and Fabio di Giannantonio will form its rider line-up for the 2022 MotoGP season with Ducati supplying machinery

Gresini Racing

Gresini Racing has confirmed it will use Ducati machinery for its MotoGP comeback as an Independent team in 2022, with Enea Bastianini and Fabio di Giannantonio on riding duties.

One of MotoGP’s longest serving entities, the team - founded by the eponymous Fausto Gresini - has competed as part of Aprilia’s factory-funded effort since its return to the top flight in 2015. 

However, with Aprilia taking the project in-house from 2022, Gresini Racing will instead re-establish its independent status next year. Though it was initially rumoured it would side-step into becoming a privateer Aprilia effort, it will instead become a Ducati satellite team from next year with an anticipated supply of year-old machines for the next two years.

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As expected, Bastianini and di Giannantonio will form an all-Italian rider line-up for 2022. Bastianini, currently in the midst of his rookie MotoGP season with Avintia Racing, gets his seat by virtue of his Ducati-managed contract, while Moto2 race winner di Giannantonio will make his debut in 2022 having signed his agreement with Gresini several months ago.

Gresini’s return to MotoGP as an independent outfit is tinged with poignancy following the death of team founder Fausto Gresini over the winter.

The team had only just confirmed plans to compete independently when Gresini - a 125GP World Champion - became unwell with COVID-19. He passed away a few weeks later..

“It’s a very emotional moment for each of us," said team owner and principal Nadia Padovini, wife of the late Fauso Gresini. "In previous months, our efforts merged with a strong emotional push to shape the future of Gresini Racing, and now are immensely proud and happy to make the official announcement.

"It is a project born out of continuity and based on values upon which Fausto built this amazing institution. 

“My thank you goes first and foremost to Carmelo Ezpeleta for making sure we never felt alone during these months, to Ducati for trusting our projects, to Flex-Box who joined us in this new challenge as title sponsor and obviously to Fabio and Enea: I’m sure they will give their best to wave the Gresini Racing banner high.”

Though Aprilia has struggled relative to its factory counterparts since returning to MotoGP in 2015, Gresini Racing was considered one of the stronger privateer teams prior to this, finishing runner-up three years in a row with Sete Gibernau (2002, 2003) and Marco Melandri (2004).

Since its debut in 1997, Gresini Racing has achieved 14 wins, plus the 2001 250GP, the 2010 Moto2, the 2018 Moto3 and 2019 MotoE World Championships.