Michele Pirro gives Gresini victory in Valencia Moto2 race
|By Matt Beer||Sunday, November 6th 2011, 12:14 GMT|
Michele Pirro gave the Gresini Racing team a hugely emotional victory in the Valencia Moto2 race, a fortnight after the death of the squad's lead MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli in a crash at Sepang.
Gresini had agonised over whether to race at Valencia at all in the wake of Simoncelli's death.
Its riders Pirro and Yuki Takahashi then timed their qualifying runs perfectly to take a poignant first and second on the Moto2 grid before rain fell yesterday.
In treacherous, drizzly conditions today, Takahashi took an early lead in a battle with Technomag-CIP's Dominique Aegerter, while Pirro initially fell to fifth.
The Italian worked his way back through to second by the time Takahashi had a huge crash at Turn 6 on the sixth lap. He was declared okay at the circuit's medical centre, but taken to hospital for precautionary checks.
Pirro led to the finish thereafter, with team boss Fausto Gresini in floods of tears on the pit wall as his rider crossed the line to claim his maiden Moto2 victory.
Mika Kallio (Marc VDS) ended a tough season on a high by beating Aegerter to second, after long-time second-place man Yonny Hernandez ran off the road late on and fell to sixth. That meant he finished the race in the middle of a huge dice won by MZ's Anthony West, with Kenny Noyes fifth, and Mike di Meglio and Xavier Simeon coming home right behind Hernandez.
Champion Stefan Bradl was one of many riders to crash in the tricky conditions, falling on lap four. Scott Redding and Bradley Smith were among those who did likewise, though both rejoined.
Results - 27 laps: Pos Rider Team/Bike Time/Gap 1. Michele Pirro Gresini Moriwaki 46m22.205s 2. Mika Kallio Marc VDS Suter + 6.150s 3. Dominique Aegerter Technomag-CIP Suter + 6.363s 4. Anthony West MZ + 8.843s 5. Kenny Noyes Avintia FTR + 9.229s 6. Yonny Hernandez Blusens FTR + 9.926s 7. Mike di Meglio Tech 3 + 10.115s 8. Xavier Simeon Tech 3 + 10.385s 9. Max Neukirchner MZ + 13.018s 10. Julian Simon Aspar Suter + 13.685s 11. Andrea Iannone Speed Master Suter + 14.686s 12. Alex de Angelis JIR Motobi + 15.200s 13. Jules Cluzel Forward Suter + 18.428s 14. Pol Espargaro Speed Up FTR + 19.177s 15. Claudio Corti Italtrans Suter + 20.356s 16. Randy Krummenacher Kiefer Kalex + 26.031s 17. Thomas Luthi Interwetten Suter + 27.160s 18. Jordi Torres Aspar Suter + 33.813s 19. Alex Baldolini G22 Moriwaki + 46.003s 20. Kenan Sofuoglu Technomag-CIP Suter + 49.635s 21. Aleix Espargaro Pons KalexKalex + 1m12.187s 22. Santiago Hernandez SAG FTR + 1m14.567s 23. Bradley Smith Tech 3 + 1m15.394s 24. Robertino Pietri Italtrans Suter + 1m16.767s 25. Elena Rosell Aspar Suter + 1m19.893s 26. Joan Olive Castello FTR + 1m22.339s 27. Mashel Al Naimi QMMF Moriwaki + 1 lap 28. Oscar Climent Climent Mir + 1 lap 29. Nasser Hasan Al Malki QMMF Moriwaki + 1 lap 30. Scott Redding Marc VDS Suter + 1 lap Retirements: Raffaele de Rosa Forward Suter 25 laps Simone Corsi Ioda Project FTR 25 laps Valentin Debise Speed Up FTR 20 laps Ratthapark Wilairot SAG FTR 13 laps Mattia Pasini Ioda Project FTR 10 laps Esteve Rabat Blusens FTR 6 laps Yuki Takahashi Gresini Moriwaki 5 laps Stefan Bradl Kiefer Kalex 4 laps