The new VR46 recruit has enjoyed a fruitful pre-season as he aims to repeat his end-of-2023 success from the get-go this season.

It wasn’t until the 27th of November – a day before the Valencia Test – that we officially knew where Fabio Di Giannantonio (Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team) would be racing in 2024. 

After Marc Marquez’s bombshell switch to Gresini Racing MotoGP™, Di Giannantonio’s future on the premier class grid was uncertain. There wasn’t much room at any of MotoGP™’s inns and having scored a best Sunday result of P8 up to the Indonesian GP – the weekend Marquez’s news became official – it was fair to say the Italian hadn’t quite done enough to absolutely secure himself a seat on the 2024 grid. Harsh? Yes, very. 

However, just when he needed it most, Di Giannantonio finished P6 in the Tissot Sprint and ended as the top Independent Team rider in P4 on Sunday in Indonesia to spark his season into life. What unfolded for the #49 in the final six races of 2023 was an unbelievable turnaround in form. A debut podium was scored in that Phillip Island thriller before the 25-year-old dazzled under the Lusail lights to beat title-hunting Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) and claim a debut premier class victory. 


If it wasn’t for a tyre pressure penalty in Valencia, Di Giannantonio would have stood on the podium four times – including his P2 Tissot Sprint podium in Qatar – in the closing six weekends of the season. The fact Di Giannantonio was the highest-scoring rider behind Bagnaia and Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) from Japan to Valencia tells us all how strong he was at the end of the year. It was no one-off. Di Giannantonio proved he belongs in MotoGP™ and thankfully, Valentino Rossi came calling following Luca Marini’s departure to Repsol Honda. 

And now, after switching Gresini blue for VR46 fluorescent yellow, many believe Di Giannantonio starts 2024 as a dark horse. Why wouldn’t you? Getting to grips with new surroundings as well as a new bike can take more time than anticipated in pre-season, but that’s not been the case here. Di Giannantonio has gelled with Ducati’s GP23, which has been obvious from both his demeanour and when glancing at the timesheets

“Last year when I was on the podium I was chatting with Pecco about the bike and he was saying on the 2023 bike, I have to change my riding style a bit because my riding style would be a bit worse for this bike,” said Di Giannantonio at the Qatar Test.

“But the truth is that it just improved my good points. So I’m just riding as I was last year and the bike allows me to push harder and faster, and I have more feeling from the bike so honestly, everything is better from my side.” 

Everything being better stands Di Giannantonio in good stead heading into the new campaign, which will be his third in the premier class. A fascinating season awaits across the board, but in Di Giannantonio’s yellow corner it’ll be podiums and wins on the agenda from the off. We weren’t saying that this time last year. But everyone is saying it now because after two years in MotoGP™, Di Giannantonio has more wins (one) than Pecco did at the same stage. Easy to forget that. 

With that being said, there is no doubt Di Giannantonio acts as a dark horse as 2024 dawns. However, it might not be long before that term can’t be used to describe Di Giannantonio. He’ll hope that’s the case after we’ve raced through a few weekends. –

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