Ducati test rider facing WorldSBK return at home round
Even though we’re still three days away from kicking off the sixth event of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship at the Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto, preparations are already in full swing for the Riviera di Rimini Round scheduled for later this month (21-23 June). The summer solstice round will be packed with surprises, including one announced this week.
Ducati test rider and regular MotoGP™ wildcard Michele Pirro will make his World Superbike return at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, nearly four years after his last race in the series. He will do so alongside Michael Ruben Rinaldi and Barni Racing, who for the first time ever will place two bikes on the same grid.
Pirro is by no means an unfamiliar face in WorldSBK. After a brief stint in the 125cc World Championship, the Italian rider switched paddocks and spent four years split between STK1000 and WorldSSP. Pirro then moved back to Moto2™ and MotoGP™ between 2011 and 2012, before settling in as Ducati Corse’s main test rider, making sporadic appearances in both paddocks as a wildcard and replacement rider.
His latest appearance on the world stage was a 7th place finish at Mugello last weekend. Pirro also competes regularly in the CIV Italian Superbike championship, which he has dominated for the past several seasons.
Excited ahead of the Misano showdown, Pirro said: “After many years full of success in CIV, I am very happy with the opportunity that Barni Racing Team was able to create, allowing me to be on track in a very competitive and prestigious Championship as WorldSBK is. "Barni" [Marco Barnabo, team principal] did everything he could to make this adventure possible, I would like to thank him and all those who believed in this project: sponsors and Ducati who gave me the chance to race. The Ducati Panigale V4 R has proven to have great potential and I will try to give my contribution to improve the bike, giving the maximum both on the track and in the work with mechanics. It will be not an easy race because the level of riders is very high, but my goal is to get the best possible result”.
Pirro’s best WorldSBK results was 6th in Jerez four years ago. While he won’t be there this time, the rest of the paddock is ready to get rolling! Follow the Acerbis Spanish Round (and the Riviera di Rimini Round two weeks after that) LIVE and OnDemand with WorldSBK VideoPass!