Fabio di Giannantonio: Valentino Rossi as my boss? “A super help. The GOAT can look over my shoulder...”

New VR46 Ducati rider Fabio di Giannantonio confident 'we’ll be ready to fight in Qatar'.

Fabio di Giannantonio
Fabio di Giannantonio

Fabio di Giannantonio says training with the VR46 Academy at the Ranch and having Valentino Rossi as his team boss will be a 'super help' in MotoGP 2024.

The revelation of last season when at Gresini Ducati, di Giannantonio stormed to a debut podium at Phillip Island, then an emotional victory at the penultimate round in Qatar.

But with Marc Marquez already confirmed as taking his seat, Diggia was still on the verge of being dumped out of MotoGP until an eleventh-hour deal to fill the void left by Luca Marini at VR46 Ducati.

I knew this was a super team as they achieved a lot of great success in their ten years [in grand prix racing],” di Giannantonio said at today’s Pertamina VR46 team launch.

“The 'first touch' [with the team] was so cool in Valencia [test]. Then my winter was normal. But during the year there will be some differences because I can train more often at the Ranch and with the VR46 [Academy] guys. It will be a huge opportunity to improve. 

"Also having Valentino as a boss is a super help for me, because I have the GOAT [Greatest Of All Time] that can look over my shoulder and give me some advice. These will be the main differences.”

Fabio di Giannantonio
Fabio di Giannantonio

The big question now is whether di Giannantonio can continue his stunning end-of-season form with a new team, machine, crew and team-mate.

“The goal from my side is to grow my career as a rider and improve every performance I’ve done last year,” he said.

“The end of last season was fantastic. The goal would be to restart from there, making some consistent top 5s.

“It will depend on how we start the tests in a few weeks… But I think we’ll be ready to fight already in Qatar for the first race.

“The first touch with the GP23 [in Valencia test] was fantastic. For sure we have to work on a lot of areas but the bike has a lot of potential.”

And what of his relationship with new team-mate and triple 2023 race winner Marco Bezzecchi?

“We've known each other since the early days of our careers,” di Giannantonio smiled. “We saw some nice pictures these days about 2015 in the CIV in Moto3. We were fighting for the title. It was super cool to see 10 years later we’re here in MotoGP as team-mates.

“We have a great relationship. We shared some great memories, some great fights, nice partying sometimes! We have a nice relationship and I think it will be a big boost for both of us to improve.

“He’s a super precise rider, super-fast in a lot of conditions. Also, in the wet. It will be nice to bring what’s good from me and also what’s good from him. It will be a nice combo, a nice mix.”

Fabio di Giannantonio and Marco Bezzecchi
Fabio di Giannantonio and Marco Bezzecchi

di Giannantonio insisted he feels no extra motivation to try and beat Gresini replacement Marc Marquez - also riding a GP23 - this season, since his only focus is to “be the best.”

Despite that exceptional aim, and the fame that comes with being a MotoGP race winner, di Giannantonio said his life away from the race track remains ‘normal’.

“I’m the same Diggia as before,” he said. “Maybe people recognise me more, but I live in Rome, a big city, and there’s also more passion for football. Motorbikes are a bit more on the side.

“So it didn’t change so much for me and that’s good. I like to be a completely normal guy. “

di Giannantonio will be back on his bright, yellow and white VR46 Desmosedici during the Sepang test from February 6-8.

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