Eight-time grand prix world champion Marquez made the shock decision to quit Honda a year early to join the satellite Gresini Ducati squad for 2024, following a miserable 2023 campaign on the RC213V.
This forced Di Giannantonio out of a ride, with the Italian left without one for 2024 until VR46 offered him a contract to replace Honda-bound Luca Marini at the end of the season – a week after the Gresini rider scored his maiden victory in Qatar.
With much of the focus for the season ahead on Marquez and his debut on the Ducati, Di Giannantonio says facing up against the Spaniard on equal machinery has not given him any extra motivation.
“My motivation is to look on my stats and I don’t have a star [championship] on my side,” he said when asked by Motorsport.com ahead of VR46’s 2024 launch if he felt he had a point to prove this season after losing his Gresini ride to Marquez. “So, that’s my biggest motivation: a star on my name.
“So, the goal is to be the best ever and this, I think, is the best motivation. There is no Marc, no one else, who can be better than this motivation.”
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Fabio Di Giannantonio, VR46 Racing Team
Di Giannantonio isn’t a product of the VR46 Academy and says his winter was “quite normal” despite now coming under the organisation’s wing.
The Italian says having “the GOAT over my shoulder” will be a “huge opportunity to improve” in 2024.
“Well, for sure it’s different,” he said when Motorsport.com asked about coming under the VR46 umbrella. “But also, I knew this was a super team, as you can see in their 10 years of being a team.
“They achieved a lot of great success. So, I think when I joined, I didn’t have some particular surprises because in the end I knew it was a super team.
“In Valencia we started in a good way, also the first touch with the staff was so cool.
“Honestly the winter was quite normal. There was not a big change on my side. During the year there will be some differences because I can train more often at the Ranch and the VR guys. So, from my side it will be a huge opportunity to improve.
“Also having Valentino as my boss will be a super help for myself because I will have the GOAT over my shoulder, who can give us advice. So, this is the main difference.”