EXCLUSIVE: Frankie Carchedi pinpoints Fabio di Giannantonio’s turnaround moment

Fabio di Giannantonio’s former crew chief identifies the moment he knew the Italian had the speed to beat the very best in MotoGP last season.

Fabio Di Giannantonio, Frankie Carchedi, MotoGP race, Qatar MotoGP 19 November
Fabio Di Giannantonio, Frankie Carchedi, MotoGP race, Qatar MotoGP 19…

No rider made a bigger jump in personal performance during the second half of the 2023 MotoGP season than Fabio di Giannantonio.

The Gresini rider scored just 37 points over the opening ten rounds, leaving him in 16th place, with a best qualifying of 13th and race finish of eighth.

But di Giannantonio went on to triple that score to 114 points over the final ten rounds, celebrating a debut GP podium in Phillip Island, then a Sprint podium and race victory in Qatar.

Without the tyre pressure penalty at Valencia, Diggia would have scored another podium and an additional 7 points.

Nonetheless, his stunning charge carried him to twelfth in the final standings and, most importantly, secured his MotoGP future in the form of a switch to VR46, having lost his Gresini seat to Marc Marquez.

Crash.net asked his former crew chief Frankie Carchedi if there had been a moment or ‘tipping point’ during last season, when he first saw what was to come from the #49.

“To a lot of people, it sounded crazy, but I knew at Silverstone,” Carchedi replied.

“Because if you go back and look at his time gap to Pecco early on. Then look at it again after 15 laps [of 20] - just before he pitted for wet tyres - he’d closed the gap to Pecco.

“So he was one of the fastest and he’d gained that time despite having to overtake people…”

Frankie, Carchedi, Fabio Di Giannantonio, Australian MotoGP, 19 October
Frankie, Carchedi, Fabio Di Giannantonio, Australian MotoGP, 19 October

The Silverstone lap analysis confirms that from laps 9-16, di Giannantonio outpaced race leader Bagnaia by 1.1s, while climbing from 16th to 10th place.

However, the wet tyre pit stop gamble backfired, and he slipped to 13th.

“So I saw it there [at Silverstone],” Carchedi continued. “I’d also seen signs at Assen, Sachsenring.

“However, when you start near the back, or in the case of Silverstone he got taken off early on, you are not going to come through to the front in MotoGP now.

“He knew it himself; ‘if I could just get qualifying…’ And finally, that was the key. It's about putting a whole weekend together.

“Because all of a sudden, from not making Q2 at all for the first ten rounds, we started making Q2 regularly by the end. And then it's a completely different weekend.

“If you make Q2, you're not going to start lower than the fourth row whatever happens, and even that’s better than where we were starting at the beginning of the year!

“At Phillip Island, he was on the second row. Then he finally got a front row at Qatar and I don't think he'll have an easier race than that.

“But at Valencia, he started fourth row, and that was the difference in the race. Because again, we knew he had the pace to win, and I think he closed over 3 seconds on Pecco. Unfortunately, he needed one more lap.”

di Giannantonio was in 9th place and 3.5s behind Bagnaia on lap 4 of the finale, then fought through to finish just 0.176s from the double world champion’s rear wheel at the chequered flag.

“Pecco rode an incredible last lap, because he closed the door everywhere, which was frustrating!” Carchedi said.

di Giannantonio was later given a 3-second post-race penalty for low front tyre pressure, due to the unexpected clear air that formed ahead of him after Marc Marquez and Jorge Martin collided, demoting the Italian to fourth on the official results.

Since switching to VR46, di Giannantonio has been seventh at the Valencia test, then eighth at Sepang and Qatar.

However, he delivered the best Sprint simulation of anyone at Sepang and was third best, effectively equal with world champion Francesco Bagnaia, during his long run on the GP23 in Qatar.

“I hope he continues how he finished last year and is as high up the championship as possible… but one place behind us!” Carchedi smiled.

“Joking aside, we had a close bond, it was really enjoyable to work with him last year and he really deserves to stay in MotoGP.

“It’ll be interesting to see how he carries on the progression.”

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