Update: Gresini team confirms to Crash.net that they will start next season with GP21 machines, the same spec as the last round of 2021.

Gresini has officially announced it will run Ducati machinery for the 2022 season, when the team returns to full Independent status following seven-years as Aprilia's Factory MotoGP partner.

The team also confirmed that its Moto2 frontrunner Fabio di Giannantonio will step up to the premier-class and be joined by Enea Bastianini, currently spending his rookie MotoGP season on GP19 Ducatis at Avintia.

The Gresini-Ducati partnership is initially for two years. Bike spec was not announced but it has been rumoured that the team will receive year-old GP21s, as used by the Factory Ducati and Pramac squads this season.

“It’s a very emotional moment for each of us," said team owner and principal Nadia Padovini, wife of the late Fauso Gresini. "In previous months, our efforts merged with a strong emotional push to shape the future of Gresini Racing, and now are immensely proud and happy to make the official announcement.

"It is a project born out of continuity and based on values upon which Fausto built this amazing institution. My thank you goes first and foremost to Carmelo Ezpeleta for making sure we never felt alone during these months, to Ducati for trusting our projects, to Flex-Box who joined us in this new challenge as title sponsor and obviously to Fabio and Enea: I’m sure they will give their best to wave the Gresini Racing banner high.”

Ducati Corse general manager Gigi Dall’Igna added: "We’re incredibly happy to have reached this agreement with Gresini Racing for the next two MotoGP seasons.

"We had laid down the foundations of a possible agreement with Fausto already at the end of last year and we would like to thank - from the bottom of our hearts - his family for carrying this project forward with us.

"Gresini Racing has been an especially important institution in MotoGP for many years and we are confident this partnership, which can count on two very talented riders such as Enea and Fabio, will be of great satisfaction for all parties involved."

Aprilia is joining the other MotoGP manufacturers in having its own grid places for 2022, but had left the door open for Gresini to stay as a satellite RS-GP team.

However, as Dall’Igna today indicated, the late Fausto Gresini had his sights set on alternative machinery since last season.

That theory was initially underlined when di Giannantonio, already signed by Gresini for Moto2 this year and MotoGP in 2022, turned down the chance to race for Aprilia Gresini in MotoGP this season.

If di Giannantonio expected to ride a satellite Aprilia at Gresini in 2022, it made little sense for him to have declined a Factory RS-GP seat (also with Gresini) in 2021. Especially since Aprilia's struggles in finding a team-mate for Aleix Espargaro would have meant 'digia' could effectively name his terms.

Instead, Suzuki was initially tipped as favourite to join forces with Gresini before rumours of a Gresini-Ducati deal grew stronger, being given public credibility when Ducati management confirmed they were prepared to provide eight bikes next year.

In other words, Ducati is ready to join forces with both of the 'new' 2022 entries, Gresini and VR46 (taking over the Avintia places), in addition to its own Factory team and having renewed its agreement with Pramac (which will again have the latest machinery).

The VR46 Ducati deal is yet to be confirmed, and Valentino Rossi's team has also been in talks with Yamaha, but Petronas now looks set to keep the satellite M1s.

After a 12-year career as a grand prix rider, spent entirely in the 125cc class, where he won two world titles, Gresini moved into team management 1997.

The Gresini team has since won three titles in the smaller classes - the 1997 250cc world championship with Daijiro Kato, 2010 Moto2 crown with Toni Elias and 2018 Moto3 title with Jorge Martin - plus satellite Honda MotoGP wins for Sete Gibernau (8), Marco Melandri (5) and Elias (1).

With Gibernau (twice) and Melandri also finishing as MotoGP title runner-up from 2003-2005, Gresini remains the most successful satellite team of the four-stroke MotoGP era.

That's despite the team's most recent MotoGP podium being back in 2014, with Alvaro Bautista, during the final year of its Honda partnership before starting a new chapter as the Factory Aprilia team.

Aprilia and Gresini have since taken a best race finish of sixth, Aleix Espargaro expressing regret that Fausto was not able to see this year's much improved 2021 machine.

"I'm proud of what we are doing, and I believe he is watching it, but I would really love to see his face when I arrive in the garage after a race like this," Espargaro said after matching the RS-GP's best result in Portimao. "I'm now fighting for the top with his project and he's not here, it makes me a little bit angry."