An emotional Michele Pirro paid tribute to his late friend Marco Simoncelli after claiming his first Moto2 victory at Valencia, adding that “Super Sic” was with him in spirit throughout the race. Conditions were horrendous with drizzle falling and track conditions slippery but the Italian hung on to beat Mika Kallio and Dominique Aegerter.
As he did after his first pole position on Saturday, Pirro dedicated the result to the family of Simoncelli and thanked his friend for guiding him to victory.
“After setting pole yesterday I just had to do well today. The conditions were really difficult for the race but I tried to stay focused and then Marco did the rest from on high. He was with me throughout the race and on every lap I was asking him not to leave me alone. It was a long 27 laps and being out there riding alone isn’t easy. This victory is dedicated to his family, who are suffering more than anybody right now, to his girlfriend and also to the guys in the team. It hasn’t been an easy year for us but a victory at the end of it is a nice tonic. We had a tough time after Malaysia but we managed to convince Fausto to come to Valencia and I am sure it was the right choice because it is what Marco would have wanted. Racing was his life and this was the best way to honour him and remember him.”
Gresini Racing teammate Yuki Takahashi led the race himself in the early stages before a nasty highside on lap six and the Japanese rider admitted to coming unstuck in the tricky conditions.
“I really wanted to have a nice race today but it all went out of the window with a crash. Up to that point I was feeling relaxed and riding well but I got caught out by the track surface. It’s a shame because we could have finished with a fantastic team result.”
The emotion of winning just two weeks after the loss of Simoncelli proved too much for Team Manager Fausto Gresini who burst into tears at the end of the race. He later admitted that he was lost for words after such a difficult fortnight.
“This is an incredible feeling. Unfortunately for us it is the second time it has happened: firstly when Sete Gibernau won the race following the death of Kato and today it was Michele Pirro who won for us. It is difficult to comment on such a special race. My heart was beating so fast, I need to calm down. It has been a very difficult fortnight and to go from such deep sorrow to this… it hits you hard.”