MotoGP: Gresini Racing are returning to MotoGP
The Italian Team will be returning to MotoGP in 2022 with their own team.
Gresini Racing have been involved in the MotoGP paddock since 1997 with Brazilian rider, Alex Barros. Gresini have had great riders such as Sete Gibernau, Colin Edwards, Marco Melandri and Toni Elias. Gresini Racing have been through some tough times as they lost talented riders in Daijiro Kato and Marco Simoncelli. Recently the Gresini Racing Team lost their founder, Fausto Gresini, who sadly passed away on December 27th.
Gresini used Honda machinery from 1997-1998, and then 2002-2014. In 2015 Gresini pulled their own team out of MotoGP, this is because they began supporting the Aprilia Racing Team in their efforts to enter the MotoGP Championship. Gresini have been present in the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini since 2015, but for the 2022 season it has been announced that Gresini would pull out of the Aprilia effort and return to the grid with their own team.
Currently in 2021 Gresini run their own Moto2 and Moto3 Teams. The Moto2 lineup consists of Fabio di Giannantonio and Nicolo Bulega, and the Moto3 Teams lineup is Jeremy Alcoba and Gabriel Rodrigo.
Gresini Racing MotoGP 2022:
Only one thing is known about the Gresini Racing MotoGP return in 2022, and this is that Fabio di Giannantonio will be making the move up to MotoGP with the team. This is because when Fabio signed with Gresini's Moto2 team for the 2021 season, he was promised a MotoGP ride with Gresini in 2022, as part of his 2-year deal.
There are still some details which have not been finalised for the team, such as what machinery the team will run. I will be looking at options for the Gresini Team throughout the rest of this article. Any possible theories I suggest beyond this point are not factual and are either rumours or possibilities.
The Machinery for 2022:
Realistically Gresini have two choices of bike manufacturer for 2022, these manufacturers are: Aprilia or Suzuki. Here are my thoughts on both manufacturers.
This is the current manufacturer that Gresini help fund and supply the grid slot for. The Aprilia Racing Team Gresini has had a retched time in MotoGP, but 2021 seems like maybe the Aprilia RS-GP has found some solutions. The Gresini team could stick with Aprilia and hope that the bike continues to develop in the right direction, instead of falling back into a slump. However, Aprilia do experience a lot of financial backing from Gresini, and if Gresini pull out of the Factory team and begin to develop their own satellite team, they will stop their large amount of funding to Aprilia. This would mean that Aprilia would have to dig into their back pockets and invest a large amount of money into the racing scene to avoid themselves going backwards.
It has been rumoured that the Japanese manufacturer is looking to introduce a satellite team to their MotoGP effort. This is because Suzuki have found good form in MotoGP since the 2019 season. An introduction of a second Suzuki team will expand their ability to develop the Suzuki GSX-RR, this is due to the two extra Suzuki's on the grid. Gresini could begin a positive relationship with Suzuki, due to the GSX-RR's performance and the manufacturers desire to carry on with their success from the 2020 season.
The first rider that has been promised a ride in MotoGP with Gresini is, Fabio di Giannantonio. The Italian rider entered the Moto3 Championship with the Gresini Racing Moto3 team. Fabio raced for Gresini from 2016-2018 in Moto3, in this time Fabio finished 2nd in the 2018 Moto3 Championship, with two race wins and 14 podiums in his three years with the team. For 2019 and 2020 Fabio raced in Moto2 with Speed Up Racing, in these two years Fabio claimed four podiums. But after these two seasons di Giannantonio decided he would move back to Gresini with their Moto2 squad.
The second rider has not been announced and I imagine that talks have not begun yet. But there are some names that could be possibilities for the team, I will run through I believe could be an option to move up to the MotoGP class with Gresini.
The Italian rider has been racing for Gresini since the 2020 season, but he has not seen much success with the Moto2 team since joining from the SKY VR46 Racing Team. Bulega may be the most logical as he currently races under the Gresini banner, but I believe the most unlikely due to his poor performances in the Moto2 class since joining in 2019.
The American rider has been impressing in the Moto2 Championship. In fact, Roberts drew attention from the Aprilia squad, as they wanted him as their second rider for the 2021 MotoGP season. Joe turned down Aprilia due to wanting to fight for the Moto2 Championship before he makes the move up to MotoGP. Roberts could get himself a MotoGP ride in 2021, this may partly be due to his nationality and Dorna wanting more American riders in MotoGP. But he could also get a ride due to his performances in Moto2 with the American Racing Team and Italtrans Racing Team.
The Moto2 superstar will most likely be looking for a MotoGP ride for next year. Chances are Marco will get a VR46 ride if they get two bikes. But if there is not a second VR46 ride the chances are that Gresini would be looking for a rider that has the class of Bezzecchi. Marco was also approached by Aprilia for the 2020 season, but he turned them down. If Gresini have competitive bikes for 2021, Marco may jump at the chance to race in MotoGP.
The British rider has been in MotoGP before with Aprilia, but he was close with the Gresini Team. I believe the only way would see Sam Lowes back in MotoGP is if the bike is competitive, like the Suzuki. If Sam wins the Moto2 World Championship, he should be considered highly by Gresini due to his experience. However, Lowes may stay in Moto2 because he is with the ELF Marc VDS Team, which is arguably the best Moto2 team.
I personally hope the Gresini Team do enter MotoGP as their own Independent Team so we can see two more bikes on the already competitive MotoGP grid!