For 2012 MotoGP, San Carlo Honda Gresini is not only fielding the RC213V 1000cc prototype piloted by newly-signed Alvaro Bautista, but also a CRT (Claiming Rules Team) machine.
The team announced its CRT entry last month, San Carlo Honda Gresini reporting it would field a MotoGP prototype featuring a British-based FTR chassis and Honda CBR1000 RR engine.
But as for the rider that would compete aboard the CRT, the MotoGP team remained hush. That was until Monday when the Gresini team reported that Moto2 rider Michele Pirro will ride the CRT FTR Honda.
The Italian Pirro spent the 2011 Moto2 season competing on a Moriwaki, finishing the season at Valencia with his best result – first. Overall, the 25-year old finished ninth in the 2011 Moto2 Championship.
Fausto Gresini (San Carlo Honda Gresini MotoGP Team Owner) says: “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.”
Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini CRT MotoGP) says: “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 honored 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.”
Each “CRT” will be a privateer entry that will be allowed to have certain flexibility in fuel-tank capacity and engines, making them competitive to run with the factory prototypes.