Perfect races, where all the stars line up in the heavens, do exist... and that's what happened in the sky over Qatar for Enea Bastianini and the Gresini team. Together, they started a new adventure among many doubts and difficulties. But, when the checkered flag waved on the Losail straight, joy was the only emotion that was felt. On the podium, Enea hugged Fausto's wife, Nadia, who decided to take over the team. "I looked into her eyes, and they were the same as Fausto’s. There was his motivation. Then I looked into the eyes of all the guys on the team and they were all sparkling," Enea said, still overwhelmed after the victory.
"I didn't expect to get on the podium, let alone win," he said laughing.
Didn't you believe you could?
”I was confident but ... you never know. Pol Espargarò was incredible, and Brad Binder had a good race. Honda, KTM, and Suzuki have progressed compared to last year, and now we’re all very close."
Were you shaking up until the checkered flag?
"It was the longest last lap of my entire career. I felt the same sensations as in Portimão 2020, when I won the title. I still don't know if it was better that time or this time. Brad was very close, and I didn't push that hard, so as not to take any risk. It was great finding out what happened after the checkered flag. I’m proud to have won for Fausto."
An incredible result for you and the team.
"Fausto was a great person, and now there's Nadia. There's a great feeling on the team. Every person is motivated, like I am. All this has made today's result possible."
Didn't you expect such a race after the tests?
"During the winter, I had seen the potential of the bike and, this weekend, I progressed even more. Yesterday, I was also fast in qualifying, and I started in the front row for the first time."
You changed the rear tire at the line-up.
“The medium was the best choice. I had tried it in the warm up, and I liked it. It gave me stability while, with the soft, I had to pump in the slow corners. At the beginning of the race, it wasn’t easy because Pol pushed a lot, but I knew I would have an advantage in the last ten laps, and that’s what happened."
Did you have everything under control?
"Pretty much. I didn't know if I could reach Pol, but when I did, I passed him, and he went wide. At that point, I was able to turn the throttle off a bit."
Do you think you can be competitive for the entire season with the GP21?
"I have no idea. All I know is that the bike suits me now. I realized from the first test that it had potential, but I'm not on an official team, and I don't know if I'll get any updates. I'm currently on one of the best bikes in the line-up, not to mention that I have one of the best teams behind me. I was fast in Mandalika. The same in Sepang and Jerez. I want to fight for the podium in every race, but it’ll be difficult sometimes."
How does it feel being at the top of the championship?
"I'm not on an official team. I'm not the one under pressure. The GP22 riders are. It wouldn't be a problem for me, but I don't feel it, for now."
What did you learn from this race?
”I didn't have an actual strategy, because I had never started ahead in the MotoGP. In the first part of the race, I thought about safeguarding the tires. I learned that this is what needs to be done. Today I was the best in this sense. We’ll see if I can continue like this."
How different are you from the rider who made his World Championship debut 8 years ago?
”I was very aggressive, especially in free practice, and I worked to keep my cool. Being nervous, in any sport, is never the best choice. The team thinks like me. I have confidence in all of them."