Nadia Padovani Becomes First Female Team Principal To Win A MotoGP Race

Padovani took the helm after her husband's death in 2021.

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Photo: Mirco Lazzari gp (Getty Images)

Last weekend saw MotoGP’s first race of the season, the Qatar Grand Prix, at the Losail International Circuit — and it was a massive day of firsts for first-time winner Enea Bastianini of the Gresini Racing Team. Perhaps just as stunning, though, is that the team became the first in the history of MotoGP racing to take victory with a woman — in this case, Nadia Padovani — as team owner and team principal.

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Padovani is the wife of former team principal Fausto Gresini, who died of COVID-19 complications early in 2021. She took control of the team and continued Gresini’s ambitious plans to separate itself from Aprilla and reassert itself as a solid standalone team. Bastianini’s win proves that the efforts were worthwhile, especially considering the fact that Gresini Racing has failed to score a win since 2006.

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“I would like to think that Fausto’s two families — ours and the racing one —have joined their efforts to bring forward everything he was planning,” Padovani said when she took over the team. “To have an independent team in the premier class is surely something very demanding, with a team to be built from scratch, but I know everyone in the company is giving their 110 percent to make his dream come true. Personally, I see it as a real mission, a challenge we will face — also and above all — thanks to the strength of Fausto, who is following us from above. We’re currently speaking with several manufacturers and in a matter of few weeks we will reveal the details of our MotoGP project.”

Little is known about Padovani herself, but we can expect that to change, as it looks as if Gresini Racing is ready to become a key player in the fight for MotoGP wins.