Fausto Gresini with Daijiro Kato, who lost his life in a tragic accident on his home track in the 2003 MotoGP race. Since then, no MotoGP races have taken place on this course. Now his last team boss has followed the Japanese to his death (© MotoGP).

To the MotoGP team boss’s death from Covid-19

The northern Italian was a fighter and a doer, but on the night of February 23, 2021, he lost the helpless fight against the Covid-19 virus and its destructive effects. Many only knew him as a team principal in MotoGP, but the Italian had also been very successful as a driver before that. The two-time 125 cm³ world champion became definitely even more famous from 1997 onwards as MotoGP team boss. Tragically, the fatal falls of his two most famous drivers made him even more famous. Shortly before his Covid-illness, he had extended his team’s contract for the MotoGP with Dorna. The little man from Imola, who turned 60 on January 23, was unable to celebrate his last birthday in the hospital due to the severe course of the illness.

Fausto Gresini with Marco Simoncelli at the start before the race. With Daijiro Kato and his compatriot in MotoGP, the Italian team boss lost two riders in fatal accidents. His own life was just hanging by a thread as a result of Covid-disease and Gresini almost seemed to have recovered when the consequences of the infection finally defeated him (© MotoGP).

Even in agony, Gresini fooled the sensational press
Fausto Gresini fooled the sensational press one last time, even in the fight against death, which in some places first described him as still alive and then had to give in. The background is obvious, as journalists apparently offered a bonus to hospital staff if they found out earlier than their colleagues about his death or agony. This hideous topic is also known from cases such as the tragic accident of Michael Schuhmacher. Now sensation-hungry scribes, who had often enough been a burden to him in his life, still crept on him in his last minutes and hours of life.

Alexander Barros with Fausto Gresini as third from left at the team launch of 1997 in the 500cc world championship of Gresini Racing. It was the cornerstone for a long and successful history, which the founder and team boss witnessed for 24 years (© Gresini Racing).

Fausto Gresini’s successes as a driver

With two world championship titles, two vice world championships and numerous top ten placements, as well as a total of 21 victories, he was one of the most successful pilots of his time as a 125cc driver. Fausto was on the second or third highest podium at the award ceremony 26 more times. He had his best season in 1987 with 10 wins in 11 races. As team boss, the absolute highlights were of course Daijiro Kato’s 250cc world championship title in 2001 and the 2010 Moto2 World Championship with Toni Elias. The special thing about the latter was that it was the first year of the four-stroke class with 600cc and standard engines. The Faenza-based team Gresini will continue to exist, but the founder leaves a gap that can never really be filled.

The autograph card from Fausto – a man who enjoyed countless successes in his career, but also suffered low blows. According to his own statement, the worst moments were hardly surprising, the fatal accidents of his drivers Kato and Simoncelli.

The MotoGP provisional calendar

The start of the season set by FIM and Dorna for Qatar seems rather strange against the background of the previous year. It was exactly there, where in 2020 the premier class could not participate due to the rigorous entry regulations due to the corona pandemic. In addition, there is the risk of which all foreign offices in all countries are currently warning. Currently, only people with a residence permit are officially allowed to enter the desert state. Since it doesn’t work without air travel, the MotoGP members are forced to fly back and forth for almost a month. Instead of leaving the Grand Prix circus in Europe, those responsible, who, according to many observers, have been abandoned by all good spirits, stubbornly accept this incalculable risk. In doing so, they violate all warnings from state authorities and well-known experts. Against the background of Gresini’s death, this seems grotesque and ignorant in a fatal and absolutely tragic way.