Enea Bastianini is the sixth rookie in focus, and his ItalTrans team remains all-Italian due to his moving up from the Leopard Moto3 effort, replacing Mattia Pasini.
Bastinini is 21 years old at the time of writing, having been born on December 30th 1997 in Rimini, Italy. His road to the MotoGP paddock began in 2013 with the Red Bull Rookies Cup, finishing in a very respectable 4th position, taking two wins and a 3rd place on route.
He then made his full World Championship debut (having no wildcards previously) in 2014 with the Gresini team aboard a KTM, under the Go & Fun colours alongside Niccolo Antonelli, finishing in 9th place with three podiums, two of which were second place at Catalunya and Brno respectively, with a 3rd place coming at Silverstone. He was unable to trouble the top 5 consistently however, only taking one other top 5 at Misano.
2015 was the year he really came to the forefront of the championship, with his Gresini team making a move to the dominant bike at the time in the Honda. It meant he was a challenger to eventual winner Danny Kent for much of the year, until it all fell apart at Aragon, not finishing and missing the chance to gain valuable points on Kent as he also failed to finish, and he never recovered from that setback, coming home 3rd in the championship in the end. He did however take 6 podiums for the year, including his first World Championship win at Misano.
2016 he came into the championship as the favourite, as both Kent and Oliviera had moved up to the Moto2 class. But he was nowhere near the eventual champ Brad Binder, finishing 148 points off the title but still coming 2nd in the championship, and he missed the French and Malaysian rounds with injury. He did still take 6 podiums for the year, and took his second win in Japan to add to the podium finishes.
2017 was much of the same for Enea, coming in as a title favourite, although he moved teams to the Leopard squad, yet he was thoroughly outshone by his team mate Joan Mir and finished only 6th in the championship, even behind his team mate for 2016, Fabio Di Giannantonio. He did still manage 3 podiums however, at Silverstone, Aragon and Malaysia, but it was a disappointing year for the man tipped to be a contender.
He stayed with the same team for 2018, but was once again unable to take the championship, bringing it home in 4th place, but equalling his best podium finishes with 6th, and he added another win to the collection at Catalunya, but he was a way off the top 3, being the ‘best of the rest’.
With Enea being perhaps a little underwhelming after having moved to the Leopard squad, will a move to another all-Italian setup prove fruitful and make it feel like home? Or will the added pressure of the Tricolore prove too much for the rookie?
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