Gresini feared MotoGP team would fold after team owner’s death

The Gresini Racing team feared the MotoGP squad would not make it through the death of its namesake founder Fausto Gresini back in February.

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Double 125cc world champion Gresini tragically lost his life in February following a lengthy battle with COVID-19.

The team reaffirmed its commitment to MotoGP in the wake of Gresini’s death, with his wife Nadia Padovani taking over as team owner and principal.

The Gresini squad enjoyed its strongest season with Aprilia in 2021, scoring a breakthrough podium for the marque at Silverstone with Aleix Espargaro, while Fabio Di Giannantonio won the Moto2 Spanish Grand Prix for the squad.

“Yeah, 2021 has been so far a very difficult year for us,” Carlo Merlini, Gresini Commercial & Marketing Director, said.

“We started back in February with the loss of Fausto, which created an enormous empty space from both sides – emotional and also professional.

“The space left was so big that for some time we thought we were not going to make it.

“But that lasted a very short time, because immediately after Fausto’s family, Nadia, everyone wanted to cover, to jump on board and push everything forward – the dream, the project, the legacy.

“And a few months after, thinking back, the other option would have been to stop.

“I think everybody now is happy to see Team Gresini still in the paddock and continuing the project.

“It was very important for us to receive help and support from everyone in the paddock.

“The results on track have been good, I’m sure Fausto would have loved to have seen Aprilia on the podium after seven years of working together.

“We were back winning races in Moto2. So, I hope he was looking down on us and cheering for us also.”

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Gresini has returned to being a true independent team for 2022 and will field Ducati machinery, having last run as a satellite squad in 2014 before it joined forced with Aprilia.

It will field Enea Bastainini – who raced for Gresini in Moto3 from 2014-2018 – and Di Giannantonio, with the pair getting year-old Ducatis.

Gresini will be one of three Ducati satellite teams in 2022, bringing the total of Desmosedicis on the grid up to eight between the factory Ducati squad, Pramac, Gresini and VR46.

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