With a former racer -Igor Antonelli- as a father, and growing up just 10km from the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, Niccolò Antonelli was seemingly destined for a career on two wheels. He was born on February 23rd, 1996 in Cattolica, and was competing in the minimoto Italian Junior Championship “A” aged just 8 years old. Eighth in his first season, the following year he became regional champion and European runner-up (2005).
This was the beginning of a successful career to date, full of achievements. Antonelli became World Champion in minimoto at Junior B level (2007) and Italian champion in MiniGP 50 (2008). In 2009, the Italian rider made his debut in Spain in the Catalan and Mediterranean Metrakit Championship in the 125cc PreGP category, where the best riders of his age participated. During that year he took two podiums.
A year later (2010), Antonelli was accepted to participate in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, the best promotional cup for progress to the World Championship, and completed the season in eighth position.
Ezio Gianola became a fan of his and, thanks to his own achievements, Antonelli made his debut in the 125cc CIV series of 2010. That season he claimed two podiums -at Mugello and Misano with second and third,respectively. In addition, he participated in the European Championship and select races in the Spanish Championship.
After a great effort in 2011, the Italian was crowned 125cc CIV champion, took third position in the European Championship and claimed two podiums in the Spanish Championship, where he finished fourth.
His talent opened the doors to the World Championship, where he debuted in 2012. After coming close to the podium several times, he ended the year with 77 points and in 14th place overall.
In his second season in Grand Prix racing, Antonelli was 16th, accumulating 47 points.
2014 was a breakthrough year for the youngster, who was amongst the frontrunners on course to fifth at Assen and took pole position for the season finale at Valencia. He ended his third year in the class 14th, with 68 points.
Antonelli changed team for his fourth season -in which he claimed his first Grand Prix victory at Brno. Two wins and two third places lifted him up to fifth place overall for the campaign.
A last-gasp victory at Qatar in 2016 meant that he opened the season in style, but it wasn’t an entirely positive year; he fractured his left collarbone at the German Grand Prix and felt discomfort when riding. In the end, he finished eleventh for the season.
Antonelli joins reigning team World Champions Red Bull KTM Ajo for 2017. With 2 titles and 2 runners-up spots in the last 5 years in Moto3, the Finnish structure provide a unique opportunity for the Italian to take a final step forward.