We’re reaching a critical point in the 2022 MotoGP season. As the teams take to Germany’s Sachsenring circuit for the tenth round of the year, the rider’s championship picture is starting to take shape. Defending champ Fabio Quartararo comes into the German Grand Prix at the top of the standings with 147 points. Aprilia rider Aleix Espargaro only trails behind by 22 points, but the third-place rider, Enea Bastianini, needs positive results to stay in the fight.
The Gresini Racing rider has been one of the major surprises thus far in the 2022 season. After claiming two podiums and challenging for the Rookie of the Year title last year, La Bestia lived up to his nickname, taking three victories (still the most wins so far this season) out of the first seven races. However, with two successive DNFs (Did Not Finish), number 23 is 53 points adrift of Yamaha Factory rider Fabio Quartararo.
Unfortunately, the race weekend hasn’t gotten off to the start that Bastianini wanted. Even before Free Practice 1 on Friday, June 17, 2022, the team learned that Bastianini’s Chief Technician Alberto Giribuola tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, Giribuola remained at his residence in Ravenna, Italy, but Gresini Racing technical coordinator Sergio Verbana will fill in for the German round.
“It is clear that his absence can be a problem, I hope not too big,” admitted Bastianini. “It will be a bit more difficult, but we can still do well. These 10 days were used to unplug a bit, I arrive here loaded, even if I still don't understand why I fell in Barcelona.”
Despite Giribuola’s physical absence, the chief tech will work remotely, providing his feedback to the team throughout the weekend. After Free Practice 1 and 2 on Friday, Bastianini sits at 13th on the combined timing sheets. Hopefully, Giribuola, Bastianini, and the Gresini Team can improve their lap times before Qualifying Saturday. If not, the championship chase may slip further away from the Ducati rider.