Fabio Di Giannantonio’s new MotoGP adventure begins under the family roof of the Gresini team. Fausto wanted him in the premier class and the Rome rider doesn’t want to disappoint him. “Fausto had believed me from the start, since my Moto3 debut – he recalls – We achieved the first results together, we rode together in Moto2, so it’s special. We have everything to do well and that gives you an extra boost, we can take this family to the top.”
What is Fausto’s lesson that you do not forget?
“He always told me to enjoy myself and I understood how important that advice was growing up. When you’re little you have a lot of enthusiasm and you don’t see a lot, but this sport also has its negative sides, there’s a lot of tension and it’s very tough mentally. If you lose the fun, you lose the shine on the track. He told me to enjoy the moment, everything that happens because it’s a great thing and if you embrace it correctly, everything is easier.
Is it easy to have fun on a MotoGP bike?
“I am very satisfied, the pressure is relative. But in our sport you have to do well or go home This year will be an apprenticeship for me, everyone tells me. At the same time, it’s me who puts pressure on myself, I want to achieve results”.
Nadia expects you to compete to be the best rookie of the year. You have to deal with Bezzecchi, Gardner, Fernandez…
“And what’s the problem? (laughs) We’ve grown together since Moto3, we’ve crashed and hit several times, it’s nice to continue like this in MotoGP. Goals are needed because they allow you to raise the bar.”
There are those observers who claim they arrived in MotoGP too early.
“It’s always nice to hear certain comments (laughs). I keep a folder of all the things the haters say, I read them every once in a while when I’m feeling good (laughs)”.
Do they motivate you in any way?
“They have no effect on me, one way or the other. I’m 23, arrived at the best moment of my MotoGP career. It is always assumed that results are the key to progress, but sometimes a rider has not been given the right conditions to achieve them. People used to speak badly of Quartararo, who arrived in MotoGP by winning just one race in Moto2 like me, now that he’s world champion they say he’s a phenomenon. You don’t just have to look at the stats, I feel as fit as ever, both physically and mentally.”
Do you also believe that you are riding the best possible bike?
“Yes, I am in ideal condition for my debut. I have a great bike, world champion constructors, the team is fantastic, I like everything.
How much did you think back to the first test on the Ducati this winter?
“I think about it often so as not to forget these feelings. I felt really great, sure I wasn’t the fastest on the track like it’s normal, but I felt crazy sensations like no bike before. Every now and then I try to remind myself, I can’t wait to ride it again.”
Did those three days in Jerez help you figure out where to work?
“In truth they helped me get up to speed and let me do laps, right now I’m the limit because I still have so many things to understand. Compared to Moto2 and Moto3 it is a different sport. I think I’ll do the same in Malaysia and then start working on something more specific.
Will Bastianini help you?
“We are professionals and he will focus on himself because it will be an important season for his future. But we have a good relationship, we talk a lot and also discuss things outside of sport. I am sure that if I need help, he will help me.
Are you a bit disappointed to be on the Ducati and not use your idol Bayliss’ number 21?
“A little bit yes, I feel like it’s mine so much. 49 is a tough number, nobody has ever used it in MotoGP and I already feel like mine.
You have 7 days of testing before the championship starts, what do you expect?
“They will allow me to prepare for Qatar, then the races will allow me to improve. These will be tough stages, also because of the heat, so it will be a challenge.”