“Motivation from above” - Enea Bastianini honours Gresini in poignant MotoGP win

Enea Bastianini credits 'incredible motivation from above' from the late Fausto Gresini as he gives the Gresini Racing team a spectacular Qatar MotoGP win

Enea Bastianini, Nadia Padovani

Enea Bastianini has paid tribute to the late Fausto Gresini after sweeping to a stunning and emotional maiden victory in the 2022 season-opening Qatar MotoGP at the Lusail International Circuit.

The Italian pulled off a shock result on the year-old Ducati GP21 in Gresini Racing’s first race in MotoGP as an independent customer since 2014 prior to it becoming the operational partner of the factory Aprilia effort until the conclusion of the 2021 season.

More poignantly however, the victory comes just over a year after eponymous owner Fausto Gresini passed away due to complications with COVID-19. Gresini himself had only confirmed his plans to split from Aprilia and revert back to a satellite entry shortly before falling ill.

Though considered something of a dark horse for wins coming into the season following his headline-grabbing results on a two-year old Ducati in his rookie season last year and some eye-catching pace in pre-season testing, Bastianini’s win - only the second for a non-factory Ducati bike - is still considered a major upset.

Indeed, while the four Ducati GP22 riders endured torrid evenings, Bastianini on the tried-and-tested GP21 looked assured as he made the most of his front row start - in what was only his second career showing in Q2 - to run with the lead pack early on as his stablemates stumbled.

Coming on strong in the latter stages - a trait that led to a number of headline results last year - as he worked his way up to second place, Bastianini pounced for the lead with six laps remaining and never looked back.

As well as being his first win, it is also the first in the premier class for Gresini Racing since Toni Elias won the 2006 Portuguese MotoGP, while Nadia Padovani - Gresini’s widow - becomes the first female team owner to triumph in the premier class, just two days before International Women’s Day.

“My feelings are incredible right now, but I want to dedicate the win to Fausto because he gave me incredible motivation from above.

“This is a fantastic result for the whole team: we’re all in tears right now. I’m also very happy for my family at home, so a big thank you goes to everyone who made this possible.”

“I pushed hard from the start, but the most important thing was to save the tyre for the end of the race. I saw Pol pushing hard at the front, but I managed to overtake [Brad] Binder and then at the end, once I got very close to Pol, I realised that I could try to win the race. 

“I passed him down the straight at turn one and he went wide, so from then on it was all about staying in the lead and take the win home.”

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