On Navarro: “He’s got guts, a podium before the end of the season would be a nice surprise.”
On Diggia and Martin: “They’re really strong. We only miss the win, but it’s just a matter of time.”
After nine GPs, how would you judge this first part of the season of Gresini Racing in Moto2 and Moto3?
Let’s start with Moto3…We had a positive start, with podium from both riders, pole positions and, even though we’re yet to win a race, this first part was good. It could have been better, however, if we see that five of the top-7 riders have won a race and the two who haven’t are actually our riders – despite having been up there each and every Sunday. We’re strong with both riders, but the first win would unlock our true potential. We will get there, that’s for sure: the team, the structure and the people who work with us give the riders the right environment for what is a very important category for riders who aspire to go all the way up to MotoGP. Moto3 is my class.
Regarding Moto2 we did not have an easy time, but we knew that. The problem with this class is that is brutal, almost “bitchy”: if you’re one second from the top, you’re around twentieth place. You’re not slow, not at all, but if you haven’t made the full transition to the category yet it’s hard to climb up positions. We have a rider with great potential, albeit still locked: he showed he has what it takes to be with the fastest guys, however. Let’s also not forget that his physical condition at the end of last year was poor, so in addition to the time needed to adapt to Moto2 he also needed time to return to full fitness and get back into racing form. There’s very little time to do that during races. Goal number one is to score points and to improve, but it’s not unusual to get lost a little bit, especially when you’re the sole rider of the team: a team mate can be an uncomfortable presence at times, but it can also be important for a series rookie like Jorge. The idea is to get to the end of the season with him consistently in the top6-7.
Let’s start from Moto2. Navarro is a methodical rider and a hard worker. What made you choose him for the difficult role of successor of Sam Lowes?
First of all, I have always invested in young riders and Jorge has shown to be a winner in Moto3, so he deserved this chance. His journey in Moto3 was affected by a lot of crashes and injuries, but he’s always stayed strong and that’s a very important thing in a rider. He’s a bit of an introvert and it should be good for him to open up a little, but you can’t change someone too much: I can only push him to do some things better. Having said that, he’s always available, polite and deserves a lot of respect because he’s got guts!
Do you expect a podium from him before the end of the season?
Honestly, no. But I like surprises and that would definitely be one! I don’t expect that, but I think he will do well in the second part of the season, like he did at Mugello, Catalunya and Sachsenring.
Let’s start with Moto3 and with the “old recruit” of the team: Fabio Di Giannantonio. What is he still missing that would make him a top rider?
It might look like he’s a veteran, but it’s only his second year in the series. It makes me smile if I think about it. From one point of view, this year is more difficult than his rookie season, because he had already done very well in 2016 and things are a bit different now. He lacks a little bit of determination during free practice and a bit of race craft, which will come with experience.
We will hear a lot about him in the future, however, because as people say in Rome, his native city, he’s one who’s ‘full throttle’. He’s funny, nice, honest with himself and with others.
Martin: a pleasant surprise or a confirmation of a great choice made at the end of last year?
When our partnership Enea (Bastianini) came to an end, my goal was to put another rider alongside Diggia. It was an easy choice for me, because I had my eyes on Martin already. What he missed was to be racing consistently with the front runners to get the feeling for it. I think that putting him in the hands of a crew chief like Massimo (Capanna) has helped him growing even faster, and the results are out there for everyone to see.
With a bit more luck, Martin and Diggia could have been up there as main contenders for the title, even though the gap is still not too big and there are still nine GPs to go. Do you think the title is still within reach?
I think that with so many races left there’s still time. We witnessed through the years many situations changing rapidly. We need to try and win every Sunday and then we’ll see at the end of the season. Having fun every Sunday, not thinking about the title and let the things develop. Normally, with leadership comes pressure so we need to be there if something happens. Obviously, Jorge’s injury has changed many things, but we hope he’ll be back to full fitness as soon as possible.
Martin and Diggia: two very different riders body-structure and riding-style wise. If you had to pick the best quality from each of the two, which one would you choose?
From Fabio I choose his determination during races: he stops in front of nothing, he hardly makes mistakes and he can manage the race very well. On the single lap, Martin is simply unstoppable: he has great strength and aggressiveness. He muscles the bike around and he’s good to watch; if he’ll be able to do it during the race as well, he’d be on another plant.
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