Aprilia MotoGP team boss Fausto Gresini has passed away Tuesday morning following a long battle with Covid-19 aged 60.
Gresini was admitted to his local hospital near his home in Imola shortly prior to Christmas after contracting the disease, but soon had to transferred to a specialist Covid ward at the Maggiore Carlo Alberta Pizzardi hospital in Bologna just a few days later as his condition worsened.
He was placed into a comatose state as Covid badly damaged his lungs, leaving him unable to breathe unaided, though after making good progress he was able to be lifted from his coma several days later.
The double 125cc world champion remained hooked up to a ventilator as he fought intestinal pneumonia in addition, though he looked to be making good progress around a month after first being hospitalised as he was able to make video calls and be seen by wife Nadia.
Gresini’s condition unfortunately began to worsen not long after though following further health complications, and just a few days ago slipped back into a coma after his lungs failed to heal sufficiently for proper body function.
False reports that the Italian had passed away did the rounds on Monday evening, his Gresini outfit clarifying on Twitter at the time that he was in fact still alive but in a critical condition.
The news came just hours later on Tuesday morning though that Gresini had succumbed to the illness aged just 60, Gresini Racing providing a short statement confirming the loss of their team leader on Twitter.
Gresini enjoyed a long and successful life as both a grand prix motorcycle racer and team boss, achieving great success in the 125cc world championship as a competitor throughout the eighties and early nineties.
He scored 21 wins across his career as well as a further 18 rostrum finishes, while his greatest achievement came after winning a pair of lightweight class titles with the Garelli factory organisation in 1985 and ’87 respectively.
He also competed with machinery from the likes of MBA, Aprilia and Honda throughout his racing career before eventually hanging up the helmet following his ’94 campaign.
Not finished with the grand prix motorcycle racing world yet though Gresini founded the race team that bore his name for the ’97 season, the squad entering the premier 500cc class with a single Honda NSR500 for Brazillian Alex Barros in what became a two year stint culminating in three podiums and a best riders result of fifth in ’98.
Gresini Racing returned to the renamed MotoGP class in 2002 after stepping down to the 250cc class for three seasons, continuing its partnership with Honda that would ultimately last for the next decade.
The team would go onto score 14 victories in MotoGP-Sete Gibernau scoring the bulk of them with eight as he battled Valentino Rossi for world titles in the mid-noughties- before eventually switching to run the returning Aprilia’s factory programme in the premier class for ’15.
The outfit has struggled to find success with the RS-GP in the intervening years though, leading to the news that Aprilia would take its programme in-house following the ’21 campaign, though Gresini confirmed in mid-December that it would continue on in MotoGP as an independent team, though it has yet to confirm which manufacturer it will represent.
While not scoring any titles in the premier class, Gresini has scored two riders championships in the intermediate class courtesy of Daijiro Kato and Toni Elias in ’01 and ’10 respectively, while Jorge Martin wrapped up the organisations first Moto3 title in ’18.
Matteo Ferrari added to the teams trophy cabinet in ’19 meanwhile as he scored its first ever MotoE world championship.
The Motorsport Week team sends all its condolences to the family and friends of Fausto Gresini in this very difficult time.