Enea Bastianini hailed the work he and his Gresini Racing team had done over the winter and Qatar Grand Prix weekend that culminated in his first ever MotoGP win.
Bastianini was forced to recover after making a sluggish start from a maiden front row spot, the Italian dropping to fifth behind both fast-starting Honda’s, KTM’s Brad Binder as well as Suzuki’s Joan Mir.
He soon dispatched Mir and Marc Marquez’s Honda before later managing to make his way past Binder into the runners-up spot just past half-distance, leaving him with a 1.4 second gap to make up to leader Pol Espargaro.
Enjoying the grip afforded to him by his medium compound rear tyre relative to Espargaro’s soft rubber in the latter stages, Bastianini caught and blasted past the Honda on the run to Turn 1 just four tours from the end, eventually taking the chequered flag 0.346s clear of a charging Binder who made the most of a mistake from Espargaro to claim the runners-up position.
The win is not only Gresini’s first in 16 years, but also the first since the death of the squad’s founder Fausto in February last year, creating the platform for an incredibly emotive success.
“It’s such an emotional day for all the team, we all cried at the end of the race and we’ve done such a good job all through the tests and this weekend,” explained Bastianini.
“The set-up of the bike was incredible and we did a good job with the electronics to prepare for the race, and then this morning in the warm-up I could see I had good pace and could manage the race well.
“I decided to go for the medium (rear tyre compound) which was the best choice for me so I could push in my style for the last seven or eight laps so I could win this race.
“Pol Espargaro was so fast in this race and also he saved the tyre very well, he had the soft and they’ve made a good step so he was competitive.
“I also didn’t expect (Brad) Binder today and he did a really good race so it was not easy for me to win, but I managed to do it.”
The 2020 Moto2 world champion added that he reckoned he knew he could do the job in the premier class on his way to the intermediate class championship two years ago, an achievement that gave him the belief that he could “be fast anywhere on any bike.”
“I understood my potential in Moto2 (world title) and knew that I could be fast anywhere on any bike, MotoGP is not easy because many riders are so fast and sometimes it’s not possible to be in the front but I’m here to do the best I can every weekend.”