Fabio Di Gianantonio remarked that he and his Gresini team “planned every single lap” of the Qatar Grand Prix, a plan which carried him to a maiden MotoGP win.
Di Gianantonio lost a position off the start to the flying Francesco Bagnaia, though settled nicely into third across the opening stages of the contest before later getting the better of pole-man Luca Marini to claim second.
He and Bagnaia subsequently pulled well clear of the rest as they disputed the leadership, the Gresini Ducati pilot electing to remain firmly in the wheel tracks of the series leader as he waited to enact his plan to steal away the advantage.
His team then gave him a ‘mapping eight’ message on his pit board as a signal to attack Bagnaia, Di Gianantonio obliging as he made a bold but clean move to take away the lead with just four laps left to run.
He ultimately secured his first-ever premier class win after Bagnaia ran off at Turn 1 while trying to re-pass his countryman, the Italian sharing after the race that he and Gresini had “planned every single lap.”
“It’s been an incredible night. We were fast all weekend, and I said after yesterday that maybe we have a clear chance to make everything work,” said Di Gianantonio.
“We planned every single lap and it worked perfectly, it was unbelievable. When I overtook Pecco (Bagnaia) I knew I had to do the hard job, but then he made the mistake and I couldn’t believe it, I knew I’d made it.
“It was an amazing moment, and I’m so grateful for this.
“I didn’t expect to have the pit board message (triple zero) because Pecco was struggling all weekend so I thought it would be someone else up front, but it was him so to take points away from him is a pity for his championship.
“I planned to make the pass four or five laps from the end, so that message was just a signal to make the move.
“It was hard to see the board because it was so busy, but I finally noticed it with four to go and realised I had to go then, and I managed to do it as cleanly as possible.”
Di Gianantonio explained that he feels he has started fulfilling his potential as a MotoGP rider “in time” as a sophomore racer. He added that world champion Bagnaia’s initial struggles in the premier class with Pramac during 2019 and ’20 prove that he should have been given more of a chance before being replaced.
“Recently I’ve felt that I’ve been a complete rider, and now I’ve taken the next step,” continued Di Gianantonio.
“It’s important to have your own confidence, nobody can give you that and it’s a pity that a lot of people think confidence is arrogance. It isn’t because it is a fire that helps you achieve more, you can push that bit more and this has been key to making my steps and improving.
“I feel I am doing everything in time as it’s just my second year in MotoGP. We are in the highest championship in the world, and the last guy to struggle initially is the world champion (Bagania), so sometimes it takes time to make everything work.”
Keyword: Di Gianantonio ‘planned every single lap’ en route to Qatar success