New year, same commitment. Fausto Gresini has no intentions, and rightly so, of bringing his second life as team manager to an end, fortified by the structure that has been built and the vast experience gained during seasons of joy and disappointment. For 2018, just around the corner now, the Italian decided not to change anything in terms of riders, at least not in the lower categories that were the protagonists today, with the certainty of being able to play a key role in Moto2, but especially in Moto3.
The confirmation of Fabio and Jorge in Moto3 reiterates the faith he has in them.
“I think that this should be automatic after a season with nine pole positions, a win and fourteen podiums. In fact, I can say that I almost feel like luck owes me one, having finished fourth and fifth in the championship despite these results. We have two top riders, a structure that works very well and a bike like Honda with continued development, so we have the all the ingredients we need to battle at the top.”
Fabio surprised everyone in his rookie season, whereas last year he was a bit inconsistent. He just needs to put all the pieces of the puzzle together...
“The second year is always more difficult than the first. We have already seen that with more than one rider and Fabio is another testament to this. He is a very fast rider with the skills to be at the front; he just needs to put all the pieces together. For example, he needs to improve in qualifying and he needs to be faster in getting the bike set up. He is a race animal and he has demonstrated that several times, but he needs to start from farther forward in order to struggle less. He likes the new bike and that is very important, so I’d say that he is ready.”
The qualifying problem is not an issue for Jorge, on the other hand, who is considered by many to be one of the favourites
“In qualifying he always does incredible laps with the new tyre. He doesn’t need to move around much from the base setup and that helps him. He needs to solidify more in the race, but there is not that much work to be done. He was very unlucky in the accident in Germany and he paid for it for the entire year. He definitely deserved a win before the last race, but the important thing is that it arrived because it gave him more awareness for the upcoming season. He is more complete now and I expect to see him consistently at the top, although in a championship like Moto3, it’s hard to be able to define a rider as the favourite.”
All of this within the concept of family which is not mentioned on every team.
“I always try to create a team that represents me, cultivating ties with people that always have the company flag in mind. It takes passion and determination, values that represent us and that often let us take those little extra steps that let you win races.”
Moving on to Moto2, for Navarro this could be the year to truly shine
“He already demonstrated his talent last year: he suffered a serious fracture and came back to finish on the podium, surprising me a lot and demonstrating all of his desire. With another year of experience under his belt, including a greater affinity with the team, he will be able to better exploit his great talent.”
Lastly, a leap to MotoGP. An assessment of the tests in Thailand?
“The tests were not that negative, despite the positions. We are less than a second behind the leaders and the new bike already has passing marks in terms of the chassis architecture compared to the previous version. It has shown greater potential, which is a sign that the Aprilia engineers correctly interpreted the information they received from the riders.”
The new engine still hasn’t arrived…
“The important thing is that it works well (laughing). We’ll have it in Qatar, but the fact that Aprilia has by now reached another level of know-how makes me optimistic.”