Two-time world champion Manuel Poggiali has been made official rider coach at the Gresini Racing squad and will work across all classes in 2019.

The 36-year-old stepped away from racing in the Grand Prix paddock back in 2008, before retiring from racing altogether in 2014 having competed in the Italian championship, and joined the Gresini fold midway through last season.

For 2019 Poggiali has been appointed rider coach at Gresini Racing and will overlook all categories for the Faenza-based squad.

“We don’t want to leave anything to chance; I believe Manuel is the right guy to help us on many levels,” Fausto Gresini, team boss, said. “As a former world champion, he’ll bring a winning mentality and help our riders, from the youngsters of the CIV to the world championship ones.

“He will be of great help of the team. This is also an opportunity for him to experience the paddock in a different way after knowing it perfectly as a rider. The idea behind is that he can mentor the riders while making his way into a team managing role as our team keeps growing year after year.”

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Poggiali claimed the 2001 125cc world title with Gilera Racing Team in just his third season in the Grand Prix paddock before finishing runner-up in the same class in 2002.

The San Marino rider went on to secure the 2003 250cc world championship in his rookie season in the category but only took one win and two podiums after his second title triumph.

Poggiali hopes to use his experience to guide the Gresini Racing riders.

“I raced for a short period of time, but I was quite successful; my titles arrived quite early courtesy of great momentum and great people around me,” Poggiali said. “Environment and relationships, along with the technical side, are key factors to achieve important results. Doing well is something, winning is a whole different matter.

“Something extra is needed in order to win, a different mindset and the ability to manage pressure. I hope I can make my experience available and put it to good use in this new role within Gresini Racing.

“Motorcycle racing has changed a lot and in many areas: technology, training, but also the bikes themselves. If we think about it, not long ago only few riders were training the way even the riders at the back of the grid are training now. It’s the natural evolution of a sport that maintains the same essence – the one I’ve always had.”

Poggiali is keen to work with all Gresini riders – from CIV to Moto2 – while he’s also relishing an input into the team’s two MotoE riders ahead of the inaugural campaign.

“We need to work hard and make sure they grow and improve as riders in a more relaxed – though still extremely competitive – championship like the CIV,” he said. “In Moto3 we will be relying on Gabri’s [Gabriel Rodrigo] talent, a rider with great experience who I think can fight for the title already in his first year with the team. For [Riccardo] Rossi this will be a learning year: he’s yet to learn most tracks on the calendar, so it will be important to do some homework prior to the races by analysing each circuit turn-by-turn. He has great motivation and we know he can do well in his first year.

“Sam [Lowes] needs no introduction; he already did well with Gresini in the past, so this is a welcome return and the bar is set very high for him. This year it will also be about MotoE, with [Lorenzo] Savadori and [Matteo] Ferrari as the two standard bearers – two very quick riders who are ready to surprise everybody.”

While rider coaches and track spotters have been a common sight, the role has developed rapidly over the past few years and gained official status within all major teams. For 2019, Valentino Rossi is working with a new rider coach, Idalio Gavira, following the departure of Luca Cadalora who he had previously worked with for the past three seasons.

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