GRT Yamaha WorldSBK founder Mirko Giansanti dies

The former Grand Prix racer and founder of the GRT Yamaha WorldSBK team, Mirko Giansanti, has died following a long battle with serious illness.

Mirko Giansanti

Mirko Giansanti - former Grand Prix racer, and co-founder and sporting director of the GRT GYTR Yamaha WorldSBK team - has died following a long illness.

GRT will emerge from the 2023 WorldSBK summer break at the French round in Magny-Cours without its Sporting Director Mirko Giansanti, who died on 7 August 2023 “after a long battle with a serious illness,” a Yamaha press release says.

Mirko Giansanti’s Grand Prix racing career lasted from 1995, when he made his debut as a wildcard in the 125cc Italian Grand Prix at Mugello, until 2005 when he completed his one and only year in the 250cc World Championship in 15th overall, ahead of Chaz Davies and behind Simone Corsi, with his best result of ninth coming in Barcelona.

He then moved to Supersport, and after retiring founded the Giansanti Racing Team with Filippo Conti.

With Giansanti as Sporting Director and Conti as Team Manager, GRT became the official Yamaha team in World Supersport for 2017, the first year of the current generation Yamaha R6, and won the championship with Lucas Mahias.

For 2019, GRT made the step up to the World Superbike class with Sandro Cortese, who had won the previous year’s Supersport crown with Kallio Racing, and 2002 250cc World Champion Marco Melandri. 

Garrett Gerloff arrived in GRT for 2020, and brought them what remain the outfit’s best results in the second half of 2020 and the first half of 2021, with podiums at Barcelona and Estoril in 2020 and at Aragon and Donington in 2021.

For 2023, the line-up changed once again at GRT, with two-time Supersport World Champion Dominique Aegerter and 2021 Moto2 World Champion Remy Gardner joining the team, with the best result so far coming from the former who finished fourth in Race 2 at Assen.

Andrea Dosoli: Road Racing Manager, Yamaha Motor Europe, said: “We are deeply saddened by the passing of Mirko after a long illness. He was a man who said little, preferring instead to lead by example and with this approach he and the GRT Yamaha Team achieved a lot. Mirko was an integral part of our Yamaha racing family and the WorldSBK paddock will be a lesser place with his passing. Rest in peace, Mirko.”