Rocked Gresini Racing wants to realise MotoGP dreams of late boss Fausto Gresini

Gresini Racing says switch to Ducati can see it return to past glories as it prepares for a new independent era without its founder, the late Fausto Gresini

Aleix Espargaro, Jack Miller - Aprilia, Ducati, Gresini Racing

New Gresini Racing sporting director Michele Masini says it is his express aim for the team to return to the ‘glory days’ of the early-2000s ahead of its switch from Aprilia to Ducati for the 2022 MotoGP World Championship.

By doing so he says it will realise the dreams of founder and boss Fausto Gresini, who died suddenly in January after contracting COVID-19.

Prior to Gresini’s passing, the team had confirmed it will split with Aprilia at the end of the 2021 season - having worked alongside the factory in a de facto works-effort since 2016 - in favour of becoming one of three Ducati satellite efforts in 2022.

While Fausto’s wife, Nadia Padovani, will retain her role as owner and CEO of Gresini Racing, it falls to Masini to take on the forthcoming Ducati project in his position as Sporting Director.

Though the shift from having works support to a privateer role might be viewed as a downgrade for Gresini, there are high hopes the team can rediscover past form with more developed Ducati machinery.

Gresini Racing was one of MotoGP’s most successful outfits for a time in the 2000s, finishing runner-up in 2003, 2004 and 2005 with Sete Gibernau (twice) and Marco Melandri on satellite Honda machinery. In all it has achieved 14 MotoGP wins since making its 500GP debut in 1997.

Indeed, Aprilia has struggled to make a dent on the upper echelons of the premier class with a best finish of sixth place from five-and-a-half seasons, even if the team is arguably enjoying its strongest season yet.

"It was Fausto’s dream and perhaps this is the base: the extra motivation he gave us to make sure Gresini Racing could return to past glory. The goal is to make sure the team positions itself again as the reference point among the MotoGP satellite teams.

"We’re working side-by-side with Ducati on all fronts; the goal is to have a team with a high technical level but at the same time a young and ambitious one: it will be a mix of trusted Gresini Racing people with some new entries who have an important amount of experience with Ducati.

"The team will consist of around 25-26 people. 20 of them from Gresini Racing and five people from Ducati Corse: a track engineer and an electronic engineer for each rider and a spare parts manager.

"We’ve been working for a year in order to find a top-level structure for what concerns hospitality and team trucks. During the next weeks we will have a clearer idea about the graphics, which is overseen by Drudi Performance. The goal is to get to November with a winter test graphic which will resemble our 2022 image."

The team - to be known as Flex-Box Gresini Racing - will enter a pair of young Italians in Enea Bastianini and rookie Fabio di Giannantonio for 2022, with Masini envisaging the outfit to become an effective ‘Junior’ outfit for Ducati.

"We want the best synergy with Ducati because we are aiming at being the reference point of Borgo Panigale as a sort of Junior team, where riders can develop and grow," he said. 

"We want to work well together and with a team spirit, because we are and always will be the #GresiniFamily."

Gresini Racing will be one of four Ducati teams on the 2022 MotoGP grid totalling eight bikes alongside the Factory effort, Pramac Racing and Aramco VR46 Racing. 

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