In loving memory – a tribute to Fausto Gresini

Sweden/Anderstorp/12 August 1984, the “Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme” is holding the 36th Season of the motorcycle world championship. Fausto Gresini is competing in the championship for the second year, still on an MBA with Garelli, (an Italian constructor established in 1919). On this day he won for the very first time. Leaving the Austrian August Auinger in second, the Italian Eugenio Lazzarini in third and 22 other drivers behind him.

Approximately one year before he achieved his first podium place in the 125-cm3-class at the very same racetrack. A stunning start for the 22-year-old Italian, who started racing in 1978 at the age of 17 on a 50-cm3-Minarelli. After the first win at just 23 years of age, all the hard work began to pay off.

Throughout his career he was able to win the world championship twice, in both 1985 and 1987. He also won the grand prix an amazing 21 times. He never changed class, stayed true to the 125-cm3. He smashed records such as eleven wins in a row in 1986 and 1987 and also ten wins within a season out of eleven races in 1987. After finishing 16th in the season of 1994 on a Honda, he decided to stop his active racing career. After a total of 118 races and 47 podiums. 

In 1997, just three years later, he returned to racing with his own team. “Gresini Racing” a team with the spirit and emotion of the Italian was born. He placed the Brazilian Alexandre Barros on a 500-cm3 Honda. Because they finished ninth in the first year, they received factory machines for the next season from Honda. In the following years they became increasingly successful. In 2001, they won the 250-cm3 championship with the Japanese Daijirō Katō. Furthermore, three times they took second place in the MotoGP-class, with Spaniard Sete Gibernau in 2003 and 2004 and with Italian Marco Melandri in 2005. This was just the beginning of the great work by the “Gresini Racing” Team founded by Fausto Gresini achieved to date.

Just a few days ago we lost this special person due to health complications deriving from coronavirus. He fought the virus since last December in the hospital of Bologna, but in the end unfortunately it ended his life. On 23 February 2021 at 10:02 o´clock the doctors declared him dead. Only one month after his 60th birthday this legend sadly passed away.

Throughout the years we were taken on an emotional rollercoaster with Fausto. He was always a funny and relatable, but at the same time a hard-working and very knowledgeable person. Thanks to him, we got to watch lots of new talent throughout the years. To name but a few, Riccardo Rossi, Fabio Di Giannantonio, Jorge Martin and Gabriel Rodrigo. We have always won and lost, together, we still do.  He lives on within us, deep in our hearts and he will always be here in spirit! The love and the passion he had for motorsport, like all the others we have already lost. They lived for it, evolved it, they all wrote a story and in honour of them, we have to keep on writing stories.  

Even though I have never met him in person, I knew about his team, the achievements and success he made. I am deeply saddened by his passing. I cheered for his team and even if I don’t know all of his history, I have lost a friend. Somebody that lived for motorsport like I wish to one day. He was there, right there, where the magic happened, and I am sure that he played an important part in the development and evolution of motorsport. He was one of the reasons that it is possible today. I cried over him, because in a way I feel we are all connected because of the motorsport we love and live. My biggest shoutout is to all those, who were lucky enough to meet this strong, amazing, inspiring person and all my thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and the team he left behind. It is a difficult period, but we are all in this together, because in motorsport we truly are, one big family, no matter what happens. We will always race together and support each other, in memory of the legend’s past.

At this point I have to quote Ducati test driver Michele Pirro. He started for Gresini in the Moto2 and the MotoGP class. In the season 2011, the year Gresini driver Marco Simoncelli fatally crashed, Pirro celebrated his only grand prix win and moved up to the MotoGP class. 

“I will always be grateful to you for giving me the opportunity to re-enter the MotoGP from the front door… Say hello to Sic…”

Michele Pirro

Nothing to add. 

“Say hello to Sic…”

by Lucie Eleanor Maack

Fausto Gresini, * 23. January 1961 in Imola; † 23. February 2021 in Bologna

© SIC 58 Squadra CORSE

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