Ducati’s Michele Pirro probably wins performance of the day at Misano’s MotoGP round after going from test rider to second-row qualifier on Andrea Iannone’s factory Desmosedici in the space of hours.
As well as the factory tester, Pirro also races in the Italian Superbike series, passing through the World Ducati Week with occasional World Superbike duties. He is a rider spinning through 360 degrees.
But tomorrow he will start the San Marino Grand Prix from the fifth on the grid using the Desmo GP of Iannone, out of his home round following the crash on Friday morning.
Pirro was already competing as a wildcard but this morning, after Iannone was declared unfit, he was asked by Gigi Dall’Igna to stand in. His weekend started from zero in FP4 and the fifth place was a superb result that gave a new motivation to the whole team.
“This is not my place”, said the emotional and shy 30-year-old multiple Italian Superstock and Superbike champion after the result he bagged in qualifying. “The team did an incredible job to switch the garage in such a short time. It was incredible teamwork and once again the confirmation that Ducati is a beautiful big family.
“From my side I couldn’t say no. This is not the first time that I’m called at the very last moment to replace a rider. It already happened to me WSBK when I was asked to race for Scassa on Friday evening. Here I replaced Iannone from Saturday afternoon. Next time I will start directly from the warm-up,” said Pirro, joking. His points will be precious for Ducati both for the team and the manufacturer championship.
This is Pirro’s eighth grand prix this season and probably the last for 2016. He was called to replace first Danilo Petrucci and then Loris Baz, while he was wild-card at Mugello and also at Red Bull Ring.
“Surprised of this result? No. Last year too I qualified fifth here in Misano but then I had a problem with bike on the war- up lap and I couldn’t take the start. I’m sorry for Andrea because he was living an incredible momentum. From my side, I am happy that I could confirm my speed. I have a pace similar to Andrea Dovizioso. Then for the race, it will be important to stay with the front guys from the beginning. It won’t be easy as I’m not so used. I only do some races.”
Pirro cannot hide that for a day he can live the life and the attention of a factory rider. A well deserved reward for a test rider used to work in the shadow. “Yes, after so much work to develop the GP15 and the GP16, it was an incredible satisfaction to see Iannone claiming the first win of the Dall’Igna era.
“My race was not so good. My dream would be to start well tomorrow and stay with the top guys. If I can ride with Marquez, Valentino or Lorenzo I can improve as a rider and I can understand better what we need to do on the bike.”