MotoGP

Gresini getting in there early by signing Fabio di Giannantonio for 2022 MotoGP?

Gresini Racing reportedly pens deal with Fabio di Giannantonio for the 2022 MotoGP season, when it's set to revert from factory Aprilia to satellite status

The 2020 MotoGP World Championship is far from finished and the grid for the 2021 season isn’t quite complete as yet either, but paddock rumours suggest Gresini Racing has already firmed up its first rider for 2022 with the signing of Fabio di Giannantonio.

SkySports.it is reporting the stalwart MotoGP outfit has come to an arrangement that will see the 21-year old compete in Moto2 for another season in 2021 before stepping up to the premier class in a guaranteed seat.

Gresini Racing is currently competing as the operational part of Aprilia’s factory MotoGP effort - a relationship they have held since 2016 - making it the only works entry that delegates much of the team’s running and development to private entity..

However, this is set to change from 2022 - when the latest commercial agreement comes into force - with Aprilia set to go entirely in-house from Noale (like its most recent WorldSBK efforts) without Gresini Racing’s direct input. 

While this means Gresini Racing - a former satellite Honda partner - would be free to scout for a different supply of machines, it is expected to revert to becoming the first satellite Aprilia team.

Ironically, given Aprilia hasn’t firmed up its 2021 MotoGP line up as yet, the reported signing of di Giannantonio - who raced with Gresini in Moto3 -  suggests teams are already looking to nurture the next generation following the successes of Fabio Quartararo and Joan Mir et al. that have demonstrated the quality of young options coming through the ranks.

di Giannantonio has competed in the GP arena since 2015 and was Gresini’s runner-up to future Pramac Ducati MotoGP rider Jorge Martin in the 2018 Moto3 World Championship. 

He was a two-time podium winner in his first season of Moto2 with SpeedUp last season en route to ninth overall and top rookie, while he scored his first rostrum of the season last time out in Catalunya.

Aprilia WorldSBK return scuppered as no budge on 1000cc regulations

In other news, Aprilia’s potential return to the WorldSBK Championship now looks to be out of the question after the series agreed not to fiddle with the current engine-size regulations.

The Italian firm was reportedly mulling a WorldSBK comeback in future, though its involvement was only ever likely to be an arm’s length support of a privateer set-up - such as the Nuova M2 outfit that has completed a handful of wildcard outings this season - and not the full factory effort of its 2010, 2012 and 2014 title-winning seasons.

However, with the current generation Aprilia RSV4 built to a 1100cc spec, it would require the WorldSBK regulations to raise the cap on engine size beyond 1000cc. 

After Ducati went to the effort of adapting its own 1100cc engine - as used in the Panigale V4 S -  into a more potent 1000cc unit for the V4 R, it is understood there will be no budging to accommodate Aprilia.

That doesn’t rule Aprilia out of WorldSBK entirely but it means only the ageing 1000cc Aprilia RSV4 meets the requirements.
 

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