Tragedy to triumph for Gresini in Valencia

Michelle Pirro took an emotional first Grand Prix victory of his career just two weeks after the death of his teammate Marco Simoncelli in the Malaysian Grand Prix. The Italian converted pole position and was only headed in the race by his teammate Yuki Takahashi who opened a commanding lead before suffering a massive high side after touching a white line in the damp conditions. From that point onwards Pirro consolidated his race lead into a comfortable 2s advantage over his pursurers, led by Yonny Hernandez, Mika Kallio and Dominique Aegerter. The race was run in exceptionally difficult conditions with rain intermittently falling throughout but with riders on slick tyres there was numerous crashes with Bradley Smith and Scott Redding both crashing out of the lead group in the early stages of proceedings. Another casualty was the 2011 Moto2 world champion, Stefan Bradl. The German suffered from the conditions but with his only championship rival, Marc Marquez, unable to start the race due to injury Bradl was not too concerned after his crash as he celebrated the crowning of his championship success afterwards. Even so the only story that mattered from this race was the success of Gresini and the fitting tribute that the team put on for their fallen superstar. In the immediate aftermath of the Malaysian race Fausto Gresini said that he was unsure as to whether his team would even take to the grid in Valencia. Eventually the Italian decided that his team would travel to Spain and determine whether to race in the days leading up to the Grand Prix. When the squad confirmed that they would take to the track in Valencia emotion was high but it was clear that they would do their best to honour Simoncelli in the only way befitting such a rider: they would have to race. When Pirro crossed the line it was mirror image of Welcom in 2003, when Gresini bounced back from the death of Daijiro Katoh with Sete Gibernau pointing to the skies in tribute to his Japanese teammate after taking victory in South Africa, and once again this victory will play an important role in the squad moving forward from the death of their rider. The team was understandably in tears afterwards and it was clear to see the strain placed on every member of the squad with Fausto stoically looking on as his rider collected his trophy alongside but this was an important step for the Misano based team after an exceptionally trying fortnight.

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