Fausto Gresini has been speaking in our daily Live session in the company of Paolo Scalera and Matteo Aglio, commenting on the latest news on how the return to track activity will take place and also offering a broader picture aimed at interpreting how much the scenario of the world championship can change in the future. Together with Gresini we also spoke about the Iannone affair and of the renewed competitiveness of Aprilia in the tests with the 2020 bike, which proved to be a clear step forward.
The manager also highlighted the difficulties of the Moto2 and Moto3 teams, the weakest in the entire system and those that perhaps require more protection from Dorna at this stage, in order to guarantee their survival for the future. Gresini agreed with the idea of holding GPs behind closed doors, even if it is clear that he is not particularly enthusiastic about the idea.
"What we want to do is try and race and be in a position to do the races at all costs” commented Gresini. “It’s clear that they are all possibilities at the moment, and it is natural that today we are always thinking about the worst case scenario. Holding the races without spectators, with a limited paddock is one of these, because the difficulties regarding the pandemic must be kept to a minimum. This is a possibility, but it is not the only one. On hospitality, and on the fact that they could be prohibited, for me is just not feasible, because they are indispensable. They are there to prevent people in the paddock from going around and going to restaurants, for example, eating and taking risks. We must try to do everything in our own hospitality units, perhaps limiting journeys only to the hotel".
There is also the possibility of not bringing sponsor guests to the paddock and in general of avoiding everything unnecessary.
"It could also be without sponsors or maybe with just a few. It will depend on when we start and the level of difficulty we will have at that particular moment. The later you start, the more chances you have of starting all activities in a normal way. We would all like to use the paddock and the track for guests. Maybe in small numbers, but at least to have them. There are many possibilities, but that is what they are at the moment, just possibilities. We still don't have a clear idea of what we can do".
Do you think that the TV alone would be enough to guarantee the survival of the system?
"It is not enough. But this is one way to start up the business again and it is the first thing we have to do. The sponsors are an important part of a team's life, and it is important to be able to bring guests to the GPs. Certainly, if it is necessary to be able to start competing again, then we will forego everything, but that's not what we would like".
Gresini: "The TV is not enough for the teams to survive"
You have been in the paddock for many years, but this is the first time that you have been in such a situation, like everyone else…
"It’s a situation that we have never experienced, and it is difficult to say what it will be like after. We have realized that staying at home is difficult, we miss what we do and love. I have lived through all the different eras; when I raced, the paddock was not organized as it is today thanks to Dorna. The level is now high, and we owe it to them. No one expected such a disaster and it caught us all unprepared. I do not know what it will be like to go back to the paddock, but I know that we will all go back with a smile on our faces. I know also that we will have to be a thousand times more careful than before".
Gresini: "One bike per rider would not reduce costs"
One of the ideas that has been put forward concerns the single bike. What do you think about it?
"I don't agree with the idea of just one bike, because you wouldn’t reduce costs very much. You must have a spare bike in the garage, even if it is disassembled. The real cost is to produce a bike. The second one, the third or fourth bike does not cost that much more. We have to freeze other important things, maybe we can work on staff perhaps. There are many things that can be done and that we must all study together if we want to save."
In this scenario, who do you think runs the most risks for survival?
"In my opinion, Moto2 and Moto3 are the most at risk. Maybe a limit could be put on the number of teams and Dorna could increase the contribution for each rider. In the future there will be fewer sponsors, the situation will change due to the economic crisis. The cost for supporting Moto2 and Moto3 is less, but it is an important commitment. Some teams may not survive. "
Gresini: "Dorna must protect Moto2 and Moto3, otherwise some teams will no longer be there"
There is a possibility of running two GPs consecutively in the same country, such as Barcelona and Aragon or Mugello and Misano. What do you think about that?
"The idea of being able to take advantage of two events in the same country seems intelligent to me. I hope that the world championship will start in July, but I think it is more likely we will have to wait for August, perhaps Austria or Brno. Dorna has a series of proposals to work on that have also come from the teams. They have collected them from everyone and then they will work on them. This is on the table, but they have to talk to everyone, the racetracks, and the organizers. There are many ideas, but there are also many problems to be solved. "
Gresini: "Iannone? Eighteen months is a massive amount of time for a sportsman"
Moving on to other topics, what do you think of the ruling on Andrea Iannone.
"Andrea has demonstrated his innocence. He was found positive, but he did not do anything on purpose to make a mistake. If you go to eat meat and this is contaminated, it is not your fault, you cannot do much about that. I was surprised by the sentence. A year and a half sentence seems to me to be a lot, seeing as it is written in the sentence that his innocence is recognized. Eighteen months is a huge amount for a sportsman. The sporting career of a rider is limited, and I think there must be more justice or in any case different rules. What he did unintentionally did not give him any technical or physical advantage, as perhaps in other sports. I will wait for the appeal to the CAS and I hope that some justice will be done for Andrea".
Gresini: "Aprilia was penalized by the absence of a rider like Iannone"
His story also has an aftermath that directly affects your team and Aprilia.
"Andrea is an Aprilia rider, of Gresini Racing. It must be understood that everyone is making massive efforts to have a rider like Andrea. To prepare the bikes, to make the whole package competitive. Aprilia was heavily penalized for the lack of a rider like Andrea on track. You have to look at all the overall effort, there are huge investments from everyone. I believe that with the 2020 RS-GP, Aprilia has made an exceptional bike in a short time. Without doing a shakedown, we went to Malaysia to first test and we immediately realized that the bike started off well and has excellent performance. The base is already much better than the 2019 bike, all the work done went in the right direction. Having a new bike from many points of view, means a big commitment for a manufacturer and we have to think that development has hardly started because we stopped immediately. In Qatar we had further proof that the bike is fine, Savadori also said that he did a few laps but clearly recognized that the 2020 bike is better than the 2019 one. In reality we have stopped, and little can be done for development. Not having Iannone in the tests did not help ".
Gresini: "A wild card with Savadori in 2020? Not to be ruled out"
Do you think it is plausible to imagine a wild card for Savadori in 2020?
"At this stage Lorenzo has made an agreement with Aprilia to be the second test rider. Obviously in Aprilia they have an excellent relationship with him, he won a few races in the CIV with the SBK bike in 2019, showing he has a lot of talent. In Malaysia he did tests with the 2019 RS-GP to give him experience, introduce him to the tyres and the bike, but then he also tried the 2020. If things go well, the possibility of a wild card is not to be ruled out, but this forced stop will obviously lead us to change a lot of things. It is difficult to make plans today with Savadori. He is one of the family for both Aprilia and Gresini Racing. He would like to do SBK, but I am sure that if I asked him to choose between SBK and MotoGP he would choose MotoGP ".
Gresini: "After winning my second title I would have liked to do 250 "
Today you are an established manager, but you have a glorious past as a rider. Do you have any regrets about your career?
"I wanted to do 250, after winning my second world championship in 1987. Garelli asked me to do one more year with them in 125 with the single-cylinder bike. At that time, they were making one-year contracts. I accepted this new challenge, but I did not like the mono. After the disaster in 1988 where I didn't do anything good because the bike didn't work and in some races I was outside the qualifying time, I was held up for being someone who wasn’t committed to the job and my relationship with Garelli finished. That was my difficulty, I am disappointed about it because I am sure I would have been fast in 250. Would I like to race today? Yes! But I don't reject anything from the past ".
You were racing in an era where some riders stayed for their entire career in 125 or 250. Why does it seem today that only MotoGP is important?
"In my time, those who did the minor categories had a lot of time available. At the time there were not many races, today 14 races doesn’t seem a high number. Before, it was normal to even do fewer than 10. There were those who did 125, then they moved into 250 and they stayed there for years. Few riders went to 500cc coming up from the ‘bottom’, like for example Cadalora, Capirossi, Rossi. Today a Moto3 rider immediately has to switch to Moto2 to cultivate the ambition to go as soon as possible to MotoGP. Before riders could specialize in one category and stay there throughout their career. "