Michele Pirro will make his MotoGP debut with the San Carlo Honda Gresini team next year after signing a deal to ride their CRT motorcycle. The Italian sparked emotional scenes at the final round in Valencia by winning his first Moto2 race for Gresini, just two weeks after the tragic death of Marco Simoncelli.
That performance has earned him the opportunity to lead Gresini's debut season as a Claiming Rules Team in the premier class with the bike set to feature an FTR chassis and a Honda Fireblade CBR1000RR engine.
The 25 year old admits he was planning to stay in Moto2 for another season but couldn't turn down the opportunity to represent Gresini in MotoGP.
I am happy to have made this choice and proud to be competing with Team San Carlo Honda Gresini in this new adventure. It wasn’t an easy decision to make because my initial priority was to build on my results from 2011 in Moto2 but the faith shown in me by Fausto Gresini at the end of the season left me in little doubt which route I should take. I am honoured to remain part of this fantastic group of people and to be joining them as part of an ambitious project that represents the future of MotoGP. Hopefully I can pay back the faith they have shown in me with some good results and technical development.”
Pirro will partner Alvaro Bautista who will ride a 1000cc Honda RC213V and team manager Fausto Gresini believes he has deserved his chance.
We have decided that it feels right for a new project such as CRT to give Michele Pirro the opportunity to show his talent. He demonstrated in the closing stages of the 2011 Moto2 World Championship that he has the technical ability to improve further as a rider and we believe that he can be one of the leading CRT riders. His fantastic and truly unforgettable win at Valencia was emotional for all of us and it convinced us that he is worthy of this chance. We are also obviously an Italian team so it is also important to us to carry this new project forward with an Italian rider in Michele.”