MotoGP Rookie Profile: Enea Bastianini
Enea Bastianini moves to the MotoGP class as the Moto2 World Champion.
Enea Bastianini is a rider who is long overdue a World Championship, he was a deadly force in Moto3 right from the get-go, scoring podiums in his rookie season in the class. The now 22-year-old has an incredibly impressive CV which includes Red Bull Rookies race wins. Bastianini only completed one season in the rookies before moving to the World Championship but took two race wins in his only season in the class as a 15-year-old.
In 2021 Bastianini steps up to the MotoGP class with a Ducati contract in his back pocket, a world championship winners medal looped around his neck and some incredibly lucrative sponsorship deals including Red Bull. You see, Enea has a knack for gaining wealthy sponsors, he has raced in some of the best teams in Moto3 with all 3 teams he raced for being World Champions at some point in the teams’ history or future, plus has managed to run special sponsor liveries and get perks which other riders do not, an example would be customised Alpinestars boots, something typically reserved for Moto3/2 World Champions or MotoGP riders with the odd few exceptions, yet he was running these boots in Moto3.
He attracts many sponsors and a lot of respect due to his professionalism on and off track, it is unheard of for Enea to be wrapped up in controversy, he races incredibly cleanly and is a master at anything PR related, coming across incredibly well mannered in interviews, listening and taking on advice from his peers. Valentino Rossi even helped him with his English during a press conference in a wholesome moment – speaking of Rossi, there has also been talk in the past of the VR46 academy offering him a place in their squad, but this would have meant him moving to Tavullia and completely changing his life which he was not prepared to do, he is managed by Carlo Pernat and is in incredibly good hands.
It was not long before he got into the swing of things, taking 3 podiums in his rookie season before the team dropped their Go&Fun livery and moved over to Honda machinery which was an incredibly welcome change for Bastianini who would ride a Honda for the next four seasons in Moto3. He remained in Gresini for 2 more seasons and took his first race win in just his second season in the class on Italian soil, taking the top step at Misano and mounting his first lightweight class title charge.
2015 was a season where we first saw glimpses of his consistency, he racked up a total of 6 podiums and 1 race win but his luck would play against him which would be a common theme in his Moto3 career, during 2015 3 DNF’s would come his way with the first at Silverstone, crashing during the final lap of the race dropping 25 points to race winner Danny Kent before crashing also at Aragon and finally being taken out by Danny Kent at Phillip Island. These crashes along with Miguel Oliveira’s incredible pace which saw him close up a 70 point championship lead saw Bastinaini take P3 overall, but he knew he had a better chance in 2016.
Well, 2016… not as good points-wise as 2015 but he gained a place in the championship standings finishing in P2 overall, however, was struck down by Brad Binder’s insane dominance which proves you absolutely can never predict Moto3, the South African ended up winning the title with 5 races yet to go which was a monumental achievement – Binder was the Moto3 champion by 142 points which was nearly impossible to even try and fight against. For the 2017 season, it was decided that a change was needed, Bastianini would strip himself of some personal sponsors including Red Bull and move to the Estrella Galicia Moto3 team who were the 2014 World Champions and at one point an incredibly strong team, unfortunately since Alex Rins and Alex Marquez departed, the team were never able to reach the same potential they once had with Bastianini proving this with a season which was less than expected from the once-dominant force, he managed 3 podiums but could only achieve P6 overall in the standings without a single win.
In a last-ditch effort to take this Moto3 title before moving to Moto2, he joined the Leopard team in 2018 who were the current world champions with Joan Mir racking up a huge 10 wins the season previous, it was the team to be in, there was no way this couldn’t work out – until it didn’t work out. Bastianini managed to take home 177 points, the exact same amount of points he scored in 2016 when he took P2 overall, yet finished the season in P4, how the hell does that work you may ask? Well, of course everyone around him decided to go ‘beast mode’ didn’t they, his ex-team Gresini were on fire and Marco Bezzecchi had ditched the Mahindra for the KTM, instantly finding his rhythm and winning races – Bezzecchi eventually mounted a title challenge with Bastianini picking up the scraps.
Would be pretty hard to miss the blue and green Leopard
He scored a huge 6 DNF’s in 2018 which was arguably his best chance of a title he’d ever have, some crashes were his fault but many were absolutely not his fault. It would be the most DNF’s he has ever taken in a single season. He took home P4 overall and watched his Gresini replacement Jorge Martin lift the Moto3 trophy with ex-Gresini teammate Fabio Di Giannantonio finishing as runner up in a Gresini 1-2. Bastinaini decided he was sick of this and moved to Moto2 with the incredibly competitive Italtrans team (yet another top-level deal going on.)
2019 was his first season in Moto2 and it was impressive to say the least, the 21-year old was adapting to the Kalex Moto2 for the first races of the season, finding his rhythm and working out how to make this bike work in the ways he wanted it to, learning his braking markers, collecting important track information and easing himself into this new 765cc Triumph engine which was completely new to the class. He took his first Moto2 podium as a rookie in the Brno race after impressive many with his performances throughout the season, 2020 was going to be a year he never expected, he was hoping to improve his podium consistency with a win or two on the way but what happened was so much better than this.
After years of being so close to a title Bastianini finally was able to realise his dream and become a world champion in 2020, his season was absolutely outstanding and his consistency was unparalleled, there was not a single rider who came close to his consistency after his first 2020 podium in the opening round of Qatar.
From here he just flew, the Triumph was dialled into the Kalex chassis and the ItalTrans team were working together like a dream, putting every piece of the puzzle together race by race to achieve the desired goal of being the world champion, 2 wins would come within the first 4 races of the season and slotted him into the top spot of the championship with a 15 point lead. A horrific crash in Austria and some tough races saw Bastianini drop off the top of the championship standings but he kept pushing and putting his all into his racing and also his training at home, working off track to ensure he was the best version of himself he could be and truly contest and fight for a title which has been lost so many times.
Brno race winner
He would rack up a total of 3 race wins and 7 podiums in 2020 on his way to being crowned the Moto2 World Champion at the Portimao season finale, winning by 9 points over Luca Marini and Sam Lowes who tied on points, it had finally happened, he was world champion.
Ducati were incredibly impressed with his performances and knew he was the next big thing, they signed him directly to their factory and slotted him into the Avintia team who had success in 2020 with the outgoing Johann Zarco. If his past is anything to go by, it will not be long before we seen Bastianini fighting in the top spots of MotoGP races with his incredible ability to be able to adapt to new machinery incredibly quickly, absorbing new information like a sponge and putting this into practice almost instantly.
He is a majorly exciting prospect for the future pairing up with Luca Marini in the Avintia team, despite wearing different colours, We cannot wait to see what he can do.
Featured images – www.MotoGP.com