Two-time 125cc World Champion and longtime MotoGP team owner Fausto Gresini revealed Tuesday during his 2013 team launch that he lost the passion for the sport after his rider Marco Simoncelli was killed in an accident late in the 2011 season at Sepang. Super Sic's death was another body blow for Gresini, who also lost rider Daijiro Kato in a crash in 2003 at Suzuka.
But Gresini admits the fire burns anew, thanks to the project to add a Moto3 program to his team.
"When I myself was a driver, I have not looked great," Gresini said to Italian media. "My biggest fear was once ending up in a wheelchair. This line of thought was my personal terror. But after Simoncelli has died ... I was no longer able to carry out my duties with the same passion as before. It was just a job, nothing more than an ordinary job. I could not enjoy it.
"Want to know what brought me back out of this dark tunnel? The work to build our Moto3 project. The thought of the kids there, who brought me back again in life."
Niccolo Antonelli returns to Gresini's Moto3 team in 2013. He is joined by newcomer and fellow Italian teenager Lorenzo Baldassarri, who won the Red Bull Rookies Cup in 2011 and raced in the Spanish championship last season.
"(They) are my future," Gresini said of Antonelli and Baldassarri. "And they are Italian, which is important to me. Not only for business reasons. We are as a nation in a major crisis; we are on our knees. But I am still proud to be Italian. Probably I am captivated by this feeling, but I cannot help it. I'm proud to be Italian."
Alvaro Bautista and rookie Bryan Staring will race for Gresini in MotoGP. Bautista will ride a Honda RC213V, while Staring will be on an FTR-Honda Claiming Rules Team machine.