Gresini Confirm Independent Team Status In 2022

The first step toward the 2022 MotoGP grid has taken place. With a new five-year contract period between Dorna, the manufacturers, and IRTA as representative of the teams starting in 2022, grid slots are open for application once again. Gresini Racing, led by Fausto Gresini, is to separate from Aprilia and become an independent team once again, they announced in a press release.

It is no secret that Gresini was to become independent, as both Fausto Gresini and Aprilia have spoken about it openly. The press release merely makes official what was already known. The partnership between Gresini and Aprilia had been a marriage of convenience from the start, a stepping stone to allow the Noale factory to return to MotoGP in 2015 without setting up major infrastructure. That was why Aprilia was still regarded as an independent team, rather than a full-factory effort, for the purpose of the Independent Team Standings.

Though the press release reveals no details of Gresini's future plans, the team has been in extended talks to run as a Suzuki satellite team. The VR46 team, which is also expected to become a full-time MotoGP operation in 2022, is also a candidate for the Suzuki bikes, should they become available. But there is also an option that Gresini continue with Aprilia as a satellite operation, alongside Aprilia's own full-factory team.

Gresini is one of a number of changes expected to take place in 2022. As mentioned, the VR46 team is expected to become a full-time two-bike MotoGP effort, taking over the slots from the Esponsorama (formerly Avintia) team. VR46 will be making their debut from the 2021 season, where they are running Luca Marini in the Esponsorama team aboard a Ducati Desmosedici GP19.

Beyond that, there may be some changes in the bikes which independent teams will be running. Gresini and VR46 have been linked to Suzuki, as have Petronas, who are rumored to be looking to switch from Yamaha to Suzuki. If the Yamaha satellite bikes are vacated, then VR46 would be almost certain to take over those machines. Aprilia are also interested in having a satellite team, though whether an independent team would be interested in running Aprilia RS-GP machines unless they were heavily subsidized is open to question. All six MotoGP manufacturers have stated their intention to remain, barring unforeseen circumstances.

2022 is a key date in MotoGP racing because Dorna runs its contracts on a five-year cycle. Dorna signs contracts with manufacturers and teams for a five-year period, to ensure the continuity of the sport. In return, Dorna subsidize the teams and factories during that period, to give them the best chance of survival for the duration of the contract.

Below is the press release from Gresini announcing their plans for 2022:


As a pleasant confirmation for an institution as solid as historical within MotoGP, from 2022 Gresini Racing will be again in the premier class as Independent team.

The team led by Fausto Gresini, which is already present across all categories of the MotoGP World Championship, is back to its natural spot and will be relying on its own support only. A five-year agreement was signed between Gresini Racing and IRTA (2022-2026), a further proof of the commitment by the Faenza-based team.

Gresini Racing has been present in the premier class since 1997 and therefore is among the longest-lasting teams and one with a very solid tally: 41 podiums, 14 wins and three runner-up spots in the category.


“We’re happy to announce this agreement with IRTA, which will see us in MotoGP for five years starting from 2022. We will not be representing Aprilia as a factory team anymore, so we will continue as an Independent Team, doing so with as much will and commitment. There’s a lot of work to do and many things to define and communicate. Obviously we’re already working on this huge project, and we will reveal the details little by little. Stay tuned!”


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What a rider line-up. 4 Suzukis fighting for podium - an embarrassment of talent. /Fingers crossed

Where's the money coming from? Suzuki (as a whole) has a cash flow that is orders of magnitude above Piaggio, and they've always struggled to run enough bikes. I guess all the winning is finally changing that mindset, at least. But as the article stated, Aprilia would have to subsidize the satellite operation. There are cheaper ways to run at the back of the MotoGP field I'm sure.

Aleix must be hoping (and asking his manager) intently that Gresini get those Suzukis (or Yamahas from Petronas, or Ducatis from Avintia) and he gets an extension. The guy's been making valiant efforts on the Aprilia, it's time to see him on a top half bike again.

THIS is the silly season. So little said by Fausto, but things are being thrown up in the air. Yamaha, if you aren't kicking yourself enough over your gutter bike...your stock is looking pretty low here.

If only we could be party to the mechanisms of these processes! Just like we do with riders, is this Suzuki surge or Yamaha purge a blip or the norm? Will Aprilia finally get a big bike success? These contracts in this musical chairs game have a great deal of consequence for a long time. 

^ Brian, if VR46 just buys Avintia (the new name will take a while to ID) grid spots don't get excited yet, they "will go to Ducati taking over the Esponsorama" sounds tricky doesn't it? So does my Suzuki call. It is a wish really, but I truly see it as most likely that VR46 ends up Yamaha, next likely Suzuki, and just not likely at all to be Ducati even though they paid to play on a old parts bin special 2019 for the immediate term.

Look at how LONG Gresini was faithfully Honda. With success tasted. He will hunker down, if he has not already with Aprilia. Contrast Valentino, who will follow happy turns of adventure and relational goodness. Vale has distanced himself from Yamaha for a while now, even just the past week re their long term disregard of rider input re the bike needs (after of course his first Furusawa and Burgess metamorphosis period). 

I think Marini 2021 is a stop gap. So is Rossi 2021. 2022 is the roll out, in which Vale will walk out of Aqua and straight over into Yellow, hanging up the MotoGP leathers. Funny, but no one has said yet that he could replacement ride his own team. Can you imagine? Maybe even guest Test? He will not be running Ducati. He has soured on and become bored with Yamaha. He wants Suzuki, and he wants it now. He has friends there. And Monster. Don't discount the possibility. 

But enter the behemoth possibility of Aqua? Huh. Going to have to ponder that one. They have had amazing success with Blue, but could do more now w Suzuki. Suzuki need money for their 2nd squad. Opposite of a financial support that Aprilia may offer. Gresini, while well established, is a customer model with limited resources. Petronas/SIC and (to a lesser extent) VR46 are not. ^ Chops, let's think not just of the overall financial might of Aprilia vs Suzuki, but how they do their racing budgets. Until last year Suzuki dictated HOW the team would be spending their meager budget, and the corporation has had a minimalist racing model. Aprilia on the other hand has taken Italian passion head to head against Honda in lower classes, and (albeit inconsistently or even oddly) can find it to spend on racing. Their checkered history with big bikes was ALL in previous eras of qualitatively different context. Championship Electronics and single tire means they can be judged afresh. Just ask Suzuki and KTM. Oh, and Honda and Yamaha. Uhm, don't ask Ducati? Just give them an Alien to throw money at.

SO -

Timing matters. Who is at the front of the line and already sitting down? Hence the central piece here of MONSTER. They just went WHERE? What does THAT signal? 

Gresini Aprilia (+2 new grid spots), Petronas Yamaha, VR46 (bought Avintia spots) SUZUKI. Boom.

It's all gotten so convoluted that I don't know anymore how it affects the wager. LOL. Too dusty right now, gotta let it settle a bit before I can understand what's happening. I just know Suzuki's would look otherworldly with Petronas riders and colors (and budget). What a great time to be a fan!

Off topic, but despite their sacks of cash, may Petronas' slick team kinda threaten Suzuki, or any other manufacturer for that matter. It appears with a Fisher Price tricycle, almost, one of their riders would qually well and run up the front. So on the best bike on the grid? Or does the sun like pull of all those $$$s over-ride team managers worries.

What does this mean for Aprilia. I have concerns over their survival as a MotoGP team. The bike is relatively new, handles well but down on horsepower. Their lead rider has only ever had two podiums in any GP class (even Abraham won a Moto2 race) and they can't decide which rider is to be their no 2. What is their plan for a more successful future?

More bread crumbs for the crystal ball -

(Btw, ouch Mr S! "All the other manufacturers in the paddock have satellite teams, so I think our time will come," Suzuki Ecstar project leader Shinichi Sahara. Smacking Aprilia in the face with a dead fish).


Gresini has already secured one of their two 2022 seats for their Moto2 rider di Giannantonio. He was also one of the Moto2 riders (w Bezzecchi and J.Roberts) that turned down the Aprilia FACTORY MotoGP seat for next year. He was also "seen in talks with" Suzuki! Doesn't this connect all the dots?

I am ready to call it a plan but not done and dusted just with the info avail. Pen is out, paper is ready, just needs to drop and hold together. Monster money is the fresh glue. 

Aqua stays Yam. VR46 is the odd one now, and easy guess is adds more Yams to make it 6. Suzuki will have growing pains adding Gresini's bikes, will shirk anything more. Yamaha can with incentive. Keeping Valentino's juggernaut of offerings is incentive. 

If you think from Suzuki's perspective, the Gresini program is a wise safe bet. The only question mark in my mind was funding, clearly behind Petronas or VR46. But the venerable Gresini team has been able to beat the factory before, and has outstanding staffing and less tangible resources. 

Congrats Fausto! Can I please have a shirt? (You haven't snuck Marini and a Yellow tail onto your second bike, have you? That would be the surprise coup move of the era. Sometimes Vale would prefer to sleep in and let Italian pals do the logistics, right? Maybe after riding he will "be a Sunday guy" still by showing up for the fun stuff in an Italian garage, holding your and Davide's hands together for cameras).


No comments here? This is HUGE! Fausto, spill the beans mate. 

Fausto Gresini is in hospital suffering from Covid-19. This is bad news. Hope Fausto makes it through this.

I have always liked Fausto Gresini since I first saw him at Phillip island in 1989. F.G. was fast and tough. A real fighter. 125 racer like my mentor Alan Bradshaw. Alex Criville won Fausto finished 7th a long way behind. Then in 1990 some Italian 125 racers were working together to try to stop Hans Spaan winning the championship & Fausto showed great race craft. "As cunning as a...rat" was one comment I remember. Capirossi won, all Italian podium, Spaan 4th Gresini 5th. Job done! Loris Capirossi won the title by 9 points from Hans Spaan.

Get well soon Fausto! Guarisci presto. We want your team to do well this year.