Fabio Di Giannantonio has quite honestly burst onto the scene from absolutely nowhere this season. Former Red Bull Rookies runner-up and CIV Champion, he was granted the opportunity of a lifetime to ride for such an established team like Gresini Racing. The young Italian first caught my attention however back at the end of last season, when he finished 23rd at the Valencian Grand Prix and most certainly hasn’t failed to deliver since.
His first points this season came at Mugello, in a race that had us all glued to the edge of our seats, as well as keeping our eyes glued on the 10 abreast battle in front. ‘Digia’ stormed his way through to finish just 0.038 behind winner Brad Binder. He hasn’t been out of the top 10 since and he has taken two further podiums! 2nd place at Assen, finishing just 0.039 behind winner Pecco Bagnaia and also a 3rd place in horrendously wet conditions at Brno, 10 seconds off winner, John McPhee.
However, it is Fabio’s British Grand Prix that I want to talk about. He proved he can battle in a group, put brave last lap-last corner passes on others and has proved that he can ride exceptionally well in the wet (5th in Germany), but at Silverstone he proved that he can also charge through the field from well down in qualifying. Starting from 25th on the grid in one of the most competitive fields in motorcycling is not ideal, but Fabio was up to 14th place by the end of the first lap! I said to someone on Twitter just before the race: “Keep your eyes on Di Giannantonio”. But I never expected him to be that rapid! The front 7 escaped the attentions of the rest, well, they thought they had. Di Giannantonio bridged nearly a 2 second gap to join the leading group, in the end to finish are hard earned 6th place!
The way he bridged the gap was sheer class. There are five possible slipstreaming areas at Silverstone on a Moto3 bike, so to bridge the gap all on his own is even more impressive, as it highlights that he doesn’t need anyone’s help as he has the outright pace on his own. It reminded me a little bit of Valentino Rossi in his dominant years – most of all, 2007 at Assen – when he just chipped away until he arrived on the back of the leaders. To come through from outside the top 20 is almost unheard of, but I suppose we better give a shout out to Stefano Manzi, who came through from 34th on the grid to finish 4th as a wildcard!
Mark my words; Fabio Di Giannantonio will be world champion. Not just in Moto3 but in Moto2 and MotoGP, because the kid has raw talent and raw speed. He’s not crashed too often, he’s kept a cool head in all situations and has already got his future confirmed with Gresini Racing for 2017. Will he be able to win at Misano this weekend? If he does, then I am taking all the credit! Just kidding, only most of it.
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After the British GP, he said this: “I’m very happy, it was a fantastic race and it’s a great feeling to finish sixth starting from the 25th position! At the beginning of the race I immediately recovered several positions thanks to a perfect start, then I was able to take the lead of the second group in order to try to close the gap to the leaders. Since I reached the leading group, we had an ardently battle till the end, so much that I have my leathers marked in several areas! In the end I did my best to try to get on the podium, but the fight was very close and when Manzi made Navarro crash in front of me, the first three were able to open a little gap. At that point I still didn’t lose heart and I continued to push hard, but in the end the podium was not possible. However that’s okay, now we look forward to Misano!”.
Kiko Giles @MotoGPKiko