The world of motorsport has been left devastated by the news that legendary figure Fausto Gresini has lost his battle with Covid-19.
The MotoGP team boss and former motorcycling world champion died on Tuesday in Bologna at the age of 60, two months after contracting the virus.
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Gresini won two world titles in the 125cc class in 12 seasons as a rider on the world championship circuit before making a successful move into team management.
The Italian was placed in a medically-induced coma at a Bologna hospital when he caught the virus in December but was taken out of it when his condition improved in January.
Sadly, it proved a false dawn for the popular motorsport figure, who then suffered a number of further respiratory complications, before again having to be placed in an induced coma in mid-February.
Gresini Racing released a heartbreaking statement on Tuesday to confirm the tragic news of his death.
"The news we would have never wanted to give, and that unfortunately we are forced to share with all of you," the statement read.
"After nearly two months battling against COVID, Fausto Gresini has sadly passed away, a few days after turning 60."
Gresini's death has rocked the motorsport world, with tributes flooding in on social media for a man regarded as a legend of his sport.
— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) February 23, 2021
The news we would have never wanted to give, and that unfortunately we are forced to share with all of you. After nearly two months battling against Covid, Fausto Gresini has sadly passed away, few days after turning 60. #CiaoFausto❤️ pic.twitter.com/mHMsDgunmb
— Gresini Racing (@GresiniRacing) February 23, 2021
I am so saddened at the news of Fausto Gresini. The MotoGP community has lost a great man, all our thoughts are with family, friends and colleagues.
May you Rest In Peace 🙏 #FaustoGresini
— Casey Stoner (@Official_CS27) February 23, 2021
We’re saddened to learn that Fausto Gresini has passed away. Today we have no words, but we offer our most sincere condolences to all his family, friends and loved ones. Rest in peace, Fausto 🙏❤️#SkyRacingTeamVR46 pic.twitter.com/1mHpOXcaEm
— Sky Racing Team VR46 (@SkyRacingTeam) February 23, 2021
Rest in peace, Fausto Gresini
The motorsport world has lost one of its most beloved and special characters
Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones pic.twitter.com/kStUPcGv9Q
— Formula 1 (@F1) February 23, 2021
FIM mourns the loss of one of the most gentle men of the MotoGP family, our friend Fausto Gresini, a two-time FIM World Champion in the 125cc class (1985, 1987) and a key figure in the paddock as founder of the Gresini Team.
Pic © FIM pic.twitter.com/D60YPLCDd0
— FIM (@FIM_live) February 23, 2021
YMC, YMR, and the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team are deeply saddened by the passing of two-time 125cc World Champion, MotoGP team owner and colleague, and dear friend Fausto Gresini. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and the Gresini Racing team. #CiaoFausto pic.twitter.com/dsje0L01r4
— Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP (@YamahaMotoGP) February 23, 2021
A much loved member of the MotoGP family has sadly left us
Fausto Gresini was a colleague to many, a friend to all and will be sorely, sorely missed. Our thoughts go out to his family and loved ones
Rest in peace Fausto pic.twitter.com/qWfP34BIpa
— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) February 23, 2021
Tragedy followed Gresini in motorsport
As a rider, Gresini claimed world titles in 1985 and 1987, winning the first 10 races in the latter season to set a record that still stands.
He won two world titles as a team boss, the 250cc title in 2001 with Japanese rider Daijiro Kato and the Moto2 championship with Spain's Toni Elias in 2010.
Both triumphs were followed by tragedies for the team, however, with Kato dying in 2003 after a crash at his home MotoGP Grand Prix and Italian rider Marco Simoncelli fatally injured after a fall in the Malaysian round of the 2011 championship.
"A much loved member of the MotoGP family has sadly left us," MotoGP said on Twitter. "Fausto Gresini was a colleague to many, a friend to all and will be sorely missed. Our thoughts go out to his family and loved ones. Rest in peace Fausto."
Repsol Honda paid tribute to Gresini on Twitter.
"Our thoughts are with those close to Fausto Gresini, a talented rider, an accomplished team owner and a great man," the team said.
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