There will an extra Ducati on the grid at Misano. The news of the week is Michele Pirro's participation in the Italian event. The Puglian rider, fresh from the Mugello GP round, will be in action in less than three weeks with team Barni's.
A dream shared by both Marco Barnabò, team principal of the Italian squad, and the Italian rider thus becomes true.
“We've been working on this project with Michele for about a year – begins Marco Barnabò – Pirro is Barni rider to all effects, and he's also busy as test rider for Ducati. He's a guy who really wants to race and so we've worked to give him this opportunity. We spoke with Ciabatti, who gave us the ok”.
We're used to seeing him in the Italian CIV, now the jump to the world championship which presents a few differences.
“Exactly, there are some different aspects, like the suspension, given that in the world championship we use Showa, in CIV Mupo. The level is the same though and I'm sure Michele will do his best to adapt, he has enough experience after all. It won't be easy though"
Is Pirro enthusiastic about having the chance to line up against the likes of Rea and Bautista.
“He really wants to race and, if I put myself in his shoes, I understand this need. I sometimes read that he's racing in the CIV to steal sweets from the others, but I don't see it like that. The truth is that the CIV has raised its level and strong riders have arrived who give nothing away. His talent sees him succeed of course, but he's not being gifted this success. In fact I think for a young guy racing in CIV, having Pirro beat you is a good business card for your future and gives credibility to your potential".
What should we expect from Pirro at Misano? A podium? A top five finish?
“We hope so, it would be great to see him in the top five. He won't arrive in Misano until Thursday and will have to come up with a work method, starting almost from scratch. It won't be simple, and Michele knows this, but I'm sure he'll be up to the task considering his talents. We thought about carrying out a preparatory test, but we're short on time and so unfortunately I don't think we'll have chance".
Rinaldi can count on some support then.
“Sure, with Michele in the garage, Michael can only gain. We're on a growth path with Rinaldi, as he is a young rider. This is the mentality of our team and we need to continue in this direction”.
Rinaldi, like the other Ducati riders, though with the exception of Bautista, is struggling a little to get to grips with the V4.
“i'm sorry about the bad luck he had earlier in the season. He wasn't well in Phillip Island, then he raced with a fever inThailand. Michael shouldn't worry though, he has everything he needs to grow. He was also one of the quickest in testing at Misano”.
Lastly, Barni is an independent team, but will be at the level of top teams at Misano.
“It's best I don't think about what all this is costing me (he jokes)). It's a real effort for us, as we're a private team and have to double our commitment adding mechanics, engineers and everything we need. I'm pleased for Michele, for the team and for the fans who will be able to see Pirro in action".