While still coming to terms with the tragic loss of Marco Simoncelli, Fausto Gresini has confirmed that - for the first time - his team will compete in all three classes of the motorcycle world championships in 2012.
Gresini has signed former Suzuki rider Alvaro Bautista to take over the RC213V originally intended for Simoncelli - and will also run another to-be-announced rider on a Honda-powered FTR CRT bike - but declared that Bautista will not have full factory HRC support.
The new 2012 Gresini entry will be for the inaugural Moto3 World Championship, which is replacing 125cc from next season.
“In Moto3 we will have a Honda powered bike for 15 year old Niccolò Antonelli. He is a promising young rider who is dreaming of success the way that Marco once did,” GPOne.com quotes Gresini as saying.
Gresini added that he feels betrayed by the fact that Simoncelli - who had taken his first two poles and podiums in MotoGP
this year - will never get to race the 1000cc bike, which should have better suited his physical size and riding style.
"I still love the world of motorcycling, but in some ways I feel betrayed,” said Gresini. “I've been thinking some more about Marco in recent days; he had already tested the new Honda RC213V, and he was enthusiastic about it. He told me, 'it's really powerful, and we are gonna have some fun with it'…
"I don't see any [young] riders in Italy that can be compared with Marco. There is a hole in this next generation. Let's hope that Valentino Rossi
can be competitive on the Ducati, because it's important for motorcycling."
Gresini joins Aspar in racing in all three grand prix classes.