#CRT – Michele Pirro: “I want to make a statement in MotoGP”

Posted on December 19th, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Michele Pirro shared his expectations and goals ahead of his upcoming season aboard the Gresini team’s CRT. “It’s definitely an important milestone,” began the 25 year-old. “I’ll be joining the best riders in the world in the highest category of racing on board a great team.

Pirro recently extended his partnership with the Italian team, about which he said: “I am happy I’m staying with them, they are like family and after everything that happened at the end of the season, I really wanted to stay. My first place at Valencia gave Fausto (Gresini) and the team the strength to take the next step they needed to continue. After what happened in Sepang, the motivation to continue racing was at risk, but that victory helped us want to try to build something positive.”

After a competitive season in the Moto2 Championship, the Italian is ready to make the lead into the premier class where he will confront the challenge of the new CRT category, which will commence in 2012. “People are saying that it is the future,” said Pirro. “Of course in the beginning it will be criticized, just like the Moto2 class was. But after the first year, it should be possible to develop the performance of the CRT bikes even further.”

Following his win at the final round in Valencia, most expected that he would run a second term in the 600cc Moto2 class. But the two-time 1000cc Italian Superstock champion surprised everyone by opting instead for the jump to MotoGP. “I admit I waited until the last second to decide whether to continue with Moto2, especially after learning about the circuits and the category in general. With a few improvements to the bike, most likely we could have had a successful season. But I spoke with Fausto several times and he has always had the utmost confidence in me and encouraged me, and has never stopped believing in my abilities, so I’m really happy and proud to represent the Gresini team in MotoGP.”

Staying in Moto2 surely would have allowed me to develop further in the class as a rider, and taking on this new opportunity will be a lot of hard work. But I’m happy, we will work hard to do our best to have a good season, although, given the newness of the class it’s difficult to predict too much. I am prepared and excited to invest in this new project.”

The San Carlo Honda Gresini Team will run a prototype Italian FTR chassis with a Honda CBR 1000 engine, which he went on to describe: “The bike is promising, FTR has always made good chassis and of course the Honda engine and will strong. Although Aprilia and BMW are further ahead in development, I will still try to focus and prepare myself to start from where we are to move the project forward. Hopefully we can adapt the chassis to the tires, but for my part I will have to learn everything about the bike, from the electronics to the best suitable riding position. But most important will be the first test, which is expected to be in February.”

Pirro isn’t new to 1000cc bikes, having won the Italian 1000cc Superstock Championship in 2007 and 2008, riding a Yamaha YZF-R1 for the Yamaha Lorenzini by Leoni team. The next season he won the Italian Supersport Championship, and in 2010 rode as a replacement for the injured Vladimir Ivanov of the Gresini Racing Moto2 team, with which he remained for the next season as a regular rider.

The Italian’s career path saw him jump to the highest category in just a few years’ time. “For every rider, the ultimate goal is to race in MotoGP, but I’ll admit that this step in my plans was expected to happen in a couple of years. The important thing now is to work well with the team and have fun at the same time, because when everything goes your way and you can ride without problems, the results gradually come. In a few years I’ve done what many of my colleagues take much longer to achieve, but I believe I’ve earned each step along the way to the higher categories.

I don’t want to just ‘participate’ in the MotoGP class, I’d also like make a statement. Even if the level is high, and I’m racing with the best riders in the world, I want to try to be competitive with them. I realize that in the beginning this won’t be easy, it will be difficult to achieve much because of the different technical circumstances, but hopefully the first year with CRT is an investment for the future, to grow and be competitive in the coming seasons.”