Yamaha Pirovano 1988 WSBK

The Last Lap of the King of Monza

Monza offered him the last lap on his favorite racetrack of many victories. A thousand riders escorted the coffin through the lasts corners of his life. He was 56 and fighting since a long time with this “damn disease” as he used to say.

Fabrizio Pirovano was a tough guy in and outside the track

He started very early in the 70ies, in the Italian championship of motocross with the 50cc. He showed immediately his talent as a teenager and moved to the 125cc juniors class, becoming National Champion in 1977 and 1980. He made his way to the World Championship but he will miss his chance to fight for the title because of a bad knee injury. Motocross is a very athletically demanding sport and he couldn’t compete anymore. It seemed to be the end of a promising career at this point. He was out of racing.

One day he went with friends to a local racetrack. He decided to give it a try and at the end of the day, he was 3 to 4 seconds faster than his friends. He gained confidence he started riding in several races in different classes like the European Championship 250cc, Formula TT, and Bol d’Or. In 1988 after two years he felt ready to go big. And he was ready. He bought a Yamaha FZ 750 and took part in the Superbike World Championship supported by his family. He transformed an old bus in a workshop and trailer. His sister Cinzia took care of the organization, his mother cooked pasta and Peppo Russo worked on the bike. Basically alone against the big official teams of Ducati, Honda, Bimota, and Suzuki. And if you already think now that he didn’t have a chance I should remind you that his opponents back in those days were the Dunlop brothers (Joey and Robert), Lucchinelli, Merkel, Doohan,  Tardozzi and Mertens. Just to give you a taste. Fighting these giants wasn’t easy but Fabrizio was competitive against any prediction but it’s in Le Mans where he made one of the best race of his career. It rained and the track was still wet, he started from the last place of the grid…with slick tires. The choice might have seen crazy in that moment but it was the right one. The track was getting dry and he was overtaking everyone on track until he took his first victory and at the end of the season he arrived 2nd in the World Championship. Fabrizio Pirovano with an old bus, a motorcycle which bought on his own and modified with high handlebars (he adapted it to his riding style from motocross) and no support from big companies.

He missed the victory again in 1990 in superbike, surely not for the lack of talent. His Yamaha wasn’t at the level of Honda and Ducati, but he managed to win 5 times the Italian Championship. He decided to move to Ducati in 1994 but it wasn’t easy to compete against Fogarty and his official 916, so in 1996 he moved to the Supersport, first with Ducati and then with Suzuki. And in 1998, at the age 38, he became Wolrd Champion, winning 5 of 10 races on a Suzuki GSXR 600 with the team Alstare which will be a long lasting relationship also outside the track.

He came back to racing between 2003 and 2008 dominating the Suzuki GSXR European Cup, closing his career at 48 winning a race on a wild card. Fast in the rain, he rarely made mistakes and in Monza, he was simply unbeatable, dry or wet.

This year he visited Valentino Rossi at his ranch to watch the races, he wanted to ride but his tumor made him too sick for it “But next time” he said.

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mm
Editor of Gasolirium, test-rider, and content writer. He began in the two-stroke era which makes him feel pretty old but gave him the chance to race everything from 125cc to 1000cc. All useless experiences when he got lost in the Sahara desert with nothing but a can of beans.

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