The San Carlo Honda Gresini team has promoted Italian Michele Pirro from Moto2 to MotoGP to ride a CRT Honda alongside Spaniard Alvaro Bautista.The CRT machine Pirro will race features a Honda CBR1000RR engine in a chassis made by British frame-maker FTR. Bautista will race the prototype RC213V in the first year of the class's expansion to 1000cc.Pirro scored an emotional win in the final Moto2 race of the season in Valencia, just two weeks after the team's charismatic lead rider Marco Simoncelli was killed in the Malaysian Grand Prix. The win was the first for the 25-year-old and only his second podium.
"I am happy to have made this choice and proud to be competing with Team San Carlo Honda Gresini in this new adventure," Pirro said in a team press release. "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."Said Gresini, "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."