Following a long bout with COVID-19, two-time 125cc Grand Prix champion Fausto Gresini died in February, 2021. While both MotoGP and Formula 1 held moments of silence for the influential racer and team boss, Gresini Racing stayed on with the Aprilia Factory team during the 2021 MotoGP season. Prior to Fausto Gresini’s untimely death, he planned to reestablish Gresini Racing as an independent MotoGP in 2022.

With his passing, many in the paddock and in the stands wondered if the Gresini squad would carry out Fausto’s plans. Led by Gresini’s wife, Nadia Padovani, the Gresini Racing team anted up, signing a satellite deal with Ducati and fielding 2020 Moto2 Champion Enea Bastianini and MotoGP rookie Fabio Di Giannantonio.

The revived team continued to make waves in the off-season as well. First with its throwback 2022 livery and with Enea Bastianini’s record-breaking lap time at the Sepang pre-season test. The Beast kept that momentum going into the first round of the 2022 season at Qatar’s Lusail Circuit, capturing a first row-start just behind poleman Jorge Martin.

After a grueling battle at the front of the field, Bastianini prevailed in the desert, winning his first MotoGP race and the first race for the new-look Gresini Racing team. While number 23’s recent form aboard the Desmosedici GP21 ultimately nabbed Bastianini the victory, he was quick to attribute the win to the late Fausto Gresini.

“I don't know what to say, Fausto pushes us from the sky, he is fantastic for the whole team,” explained Basitanini. “We have all cried. I want to thank everyone who has supported me, those at home, the team, I can't describe the happiness. Fausto was a fantastic person and now Nadia is in charge and there is a great atmosphere in the team. Each person is motivated as much as I am and that has made this result possible.”

Bastianini’s win is the Gresini Racing team’s first premier class win since Toni Elias narrowly beat Valentino Rossi to the finish line at the 2006 Estoril Grand Prix. A victory eluded Gresini while with the Aprilia Factory team and the squad returns to winning ways with the 2022 Qatar race. The occasion also marks the first time a female team principal has led a team to a MotoGP victory.

“Again, a round of applause to Nadia for the brave move of taking over, pushing things over. That is the achievement that she deserves,” stated Gresini Racing Marketing Manager Carlo Merlini. “Nadia was in tears afterwards, I was in tears, everyone was in tears. It’s not like any other win.”

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