Bastianini: Maiden MotoGP win “unexpected” in Qatar GP

Gresini’s Enea Bastianini says his emotional maiden victory in MotoGP in Sunday’s Qatar Grand Prix was “unexpected”.

Race winner Enea Bastianini, Gresini Racing

The 2020 Moto2 world champion claimed his first victory in the premier class and the Gresini team’s first since 2006 when he stormed to the win in the opening round of the 2022 campaign on his year-old Ducati.

Having put in his best-ever MotoGP qualifying of second, Bastianini was expected to be in the hunt for the win on Sunday given he scored both of his podiums last year from outside of the top 10 on the grid.

But Bastianini felt his potential was simply to score a podium in the 22-lap Qatar GP and not take the win.

“The first one was unexpected because it was great for me today to go on the podium,” Bastianini said.

“To do a victory was so unexpected, but I saw in [team boss] Nadia [Padovani’s] eyes the motivation of Fausto [Gresini] to advance with this team.

“Also, when I see all the faces of my guys it’s so brilliant.”

Padovani took over ownership of the Gresini team when he husband Fausto died of COVID-19 last year and continued on with the squad’s return to independent status in MotoGP for 2022 having run Aprilia’s factory effort since 2015.

Bastianini says the atmosphere in the team is “fantastic” and the motivation of the outfit made Sunday’s win possible.

“It’s really nice because Fausto had sourced very good guys for this team,” he added. “And now Nadia has brought all the team [together] and the climate is fantastic.

“All the guys are so motivated like me and it made it possible to do this today.”

Enea Bastianini, Gresini Racing

Enea Bastianini, Gresini Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Bastianini took the lead from Honda’s Pol Espargaro on lap 19 of 22 and immediately had a gap of 1.3s to the chasing pack.

But he was pushed hard by KTM’s Brad Binder in the final laps and won by just 0.346s at the chequered flag.

Commenting on his final tour, Bastianini said “it was one of the longest laps of my life”.

He also made a late switch on the grid to the medium rear tyre having initially gone with the soft, which proved to be crucial in helping him to his maiden win.

“I’m very excited today,” the Italian said. “We have seen a very good potential during the tests and when we arrived here we did another step on the set-up and also with the electronics.

“And yesterday for the first time I did a really good lap time in the qualifying and today I started from the first row.

“The best choice for me was the medium rear because this morning I tried in the warm-up and I saw a good potential.

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“Also, the soft, for me, pumped a lot in the slow corners and the medium was more stable.

“It was not easy, especially the first part of the race because Pol pushed a lot in the front.

“But the last 10 laps, it stayed the best choice because I pushed a lot and it stayed possible to push the gap.”

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