"I'm all fired up," he says with his voice full of thunder. Ah, blessed are those like Fausto Gresini who know how to see the positive side. Always. Even in the face of the end of a seven-year experience, the one with Aprilia. From 2022 the Gresini Racing Team will become independent again. He smiles, the horizon is over there. “First we have another year and the hope is to be able to have those results that we have not achieved so far, results that we are missing. I'll do my best to finish this adventure, then we'll see. Nothing is taken for granted ”. Gresini says that he is “talking to everyone”, and translated that means keeping open every possibility to build a winning project. The only certainty is that his team and his ideas will return to fly free, light, maybe even faster.
How do you imagine it to be?
"Different. Being independent means taking on extra responsibilities. By the time I finish this contract it will be seven years. Meanwhile the world has changed and we must be ready, prepared. But next year will be a doubly difficult year: races on the one hand and the future on the other. We are working, but it will take time ”.
"Which bike will we race with in 2022? This is a rebus"
You can invent the future...
“It will take more creativity. But I'm excited, motivated. Fabio Di Giannantonio will ride one of our bikes. Which bike? This is a big rebus”. And he laughs…
Who will you work with, Honda?
"I started with Honda, we won the last Moto3 world championship with Honda, and we became runners-up in MotoGP three times. For me Honda is many things, it is a good memory. But that doesn't mean anything, it's Gresini Racing's past, if it could be the future I don't know. We are talking to several people ”.
Why was it decided that Gresini Racing would not represent the factory Aprilia anymore?
"It's not my decision, for some time they had expressed the desire to make an official team. I decided to make my official statement, to say: we'll be there. We also wanted to give a signal to build for the future, it's not that you can work in the shadows and darkness, you have to discuss things. And therefore making things official is important, being independent is the platform for a new project ".
"With Aprilia, I was unable to give and have something more"
What do you take away from these seven years?
"We had an important experience with Aprilia. We had experience with Honda, managed important riders like Gibernau, Simoncelli. Working with a team, a different factory that was at its debut, like Aprilia, taught me many things, behind-the-scenes things, actually things from the factory, and I understood many things, certain mechanisms ”.
The most important?
"That behind it all there is incredible complexity. But there is one thing I'm a bit disappointed about".
"With Aprilia, I was unable to give or have or perhaps create something more, I was always considered a bit external. I, on the other hand, would have liked to have been incorporated more. It was a business decision, which I respect, but which I was also subjected to ".
"Iannone's dream was taken away from him, he didn't deserve it"
What is left for you from the Iannone affair?
“Maybe it's bad to say but that's it: there's little left. It is a shame because Andrea could have made a great contribution. In terms of results, but also in terms of development because he has great experience. I didn't manage this thing here either, it was managed by Andrea, by Aprilia. I hoped it would go differently, but the sentence didn't leave us much room. And then we were forced to turn over a new page ”.
How is it possible, how can a rider with such a long disqualification manage?
"It's a shame. I really mean that. But even there, there are things, rules to be revised. I don't think that Andrea is an incorrect person. Not at all. I respect the sentences, sure. But I do not see Iannone's part as intentional or wilful misconduct, to take advantage, to gain an advantage. I just don’t see that".
On a human level what does that leave you?
"I lived it very badly. We said to ourselves: “But no, it's not possible. You will see that now it will all sort itself out”. It is a bit like taking a dream away from a boy. The rider’s job is a very short one. Obviously, if you do something like this you clip his wings, it's like saying: you don't race any more. Rules are rules, you have to respect them. But Andrea did not deserve this fury against him. I'm disappointed. You have changed his way of life ".
Someone that does not change his way of life is Vale, next year in Petronas.
“We have said everything and more about Valentino. Always. Vale, we know, he is a great rider. And he's still proving it at his age. Sometimes I think: it would be nice to see him win, but it's sad to see him fifteenth or thirteenth. I consider him one of the greatest, he is still very strong, but here there are guys who are twenty years old. Next year he will be 42. How do we say? Everything has its time. It's bad to say that but it’s the reality ”.
"When Marquez returns, I don't think anything can be taken for granted"
Will it still be Marquez's time?
“When he comes back, if he's OK with that damn arm, for sure it will. Perhaps even more determined. But it’s not taken for granted, it's not easy. I see it as another lost year, what he is facing is an uphill road, a mountain to climb ”.
Did you like MotoGP this year?
“In general, yes, but frankly I missed Marquez, I missed his joyrides, the ones that excite and make people talk. It was a bit of a strange championship. Sure, it's nice to see Suzuki win. A few years ago it was out. We saw how crucial the tyres and many other things are. Today's world championship is made up of rules, perhaps too many ”.
Is it taking the worst of Formula 1?
"Yes, and this worries me a little and I don't like it. Take Moto3. But make them race like they used to race, right? The rules are there, perhaps sometimes they are unfair, I would be in favour of a bit freer competition. The rules are there and if one exaggerates he must be corrected. A few less rules would not hurt”.
What sort of season was it?
"Very particular and difficult, experienced in a worrying way throughout the year, intense. The problem was having to reorganize everything, from contracts to how to do things and who did what. We also had to make cuts. The organizers were good with rules and disciplines, this time very useful. First of all, the safety of people was taken care of, they did an excellent job. It was all very traumatic, but then one gets used to it ".
What has Covid taught you?
“That we think of life as a one-way thing. But no: there are a thousand ways to deal with it. Covid taught me so many things, even things that I had forgotten. Human relationships, for example. The paddock was also more relaxed and people started communicating more. It happened in the ‘80s. I feel more humanity, more attention to others. Then I also learned some other things ”.
"That you need to be more on the ball, positive, determined, come on, come on, and you have to be so especially in difficult moments".
"In Moto2 2020 was disastrous, I want a winning team and I know I can do it"
So which Moto2 team should we expect next year, a kick-ass one?
"Yup. The last one was a disastrous year, we did really badly. The expectations were different. Instead, I want to be a winning team, I know I have the potential, I know I can be a super strong team. Having brought Diggia back with our colours is a pleasure. And then there is Bulega".
Nicolò's was a complicated year.
“I know what he can give, he is an extraordinary guy. A good fight will be created between the two, Bulega will give his maximum like Di Giannantonio. Neither of them will want to be left behind ”.
Have you changed the team structure?
“Everything, apart from a few mechanics. My determination was clear. Guys, I said one day, we have to be a top team, we invest and we spend. And this also applies to Moto3. When you're always off the podium it's not good. Next year will be different”.