MotoGP: Gresini Racing to return as an independent team in 2022

Alvaro Bautista on his way to Gresini Racing's last MotoGP podium
Alvaro Bautista on his way to Gresini Racing's last MotoGP podium

Gresini Racing will become an independent MotoGP team once again in 2022 after signing a five-year deal with IRTA.

The team are present in Moto3 (Kommerling Gresini) and Moto2 (Federal Oil Gresini) but have been a part of the Aprilia MotoGP project since 2014. Both parties will go their separate ways at the end of 2021, with Aprilia becoming a full-factory effort and Gresini Racing relying on its own support as an independent outfit.

Whilst no manufacturer has been revealed at this stage, it’s been rumoured that Suzuki are keen to run a satellite team in 2022. Valentino Rossi’s SKY Racing Team VR46 squad has also been linked with a move to the premier class, with Suzuki and Yamaha both potential manufacturer candidates.

“We’re happy to announce this agreement with IRTA, which will see us in MotoGP for five years starting from 2022,” team manager Fausto Gresini said. “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!”

Gresini Racing has been present in the premier class since 1997 and has been one of the most successful independent teams. During that time, they amassed 14 wins and 41 podiums, and finished as MotoGP runners-up on three occasions.

A large part of the team’s history was with Honda, a partnership which lasted 18 years. Sete Gibernau finished second overall, behind Valentino Rossi, in 2003 and 2004, securing eight victories during that time.

Marco Melandri then took the fight to Rossi in 2005, finishing second overall with two victories to his name. The Italian won three more times with Gresini Racing in 2006, with teammate Toni Elias securing the team’s last race win in a dramatic Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril.

In the years that followed Marco Simoncelli and Alvaro Bautista scored podiums for the team. The latter secured Gresini’s last MotoGP podium, finishing third at Le Mans.