Fabrizio Pirovano was the original ‘pocket rocket’ and his all-action style, clambering all over his BYRD Yamaha OW-01 in the early 1990s, was the stuff of legend.
Words: Bertie Simmonds Photograph: Mortons Archive
A rock-hard motocrosser, he was a national champion in that tough regime, before heading to the tarmac in 1986. Just two years later and he was fighting for the World Superbike championship, such was his adaptability.
He was a real character in the mould of what the WSB series was aimed at: a talented privateer with a modicum of factory support. His 1988 FZ750 was emblazoned with a raft of small sponsors in a team managed by his sister. But his stature grew (even if he didn’t, he got the pocket rocket nickname for a reason) and his 10 race wins in WSB as well as runner-up spots in 1988 and 1990 showed what he was capable of.
Of course, he was well known on Yamaha’s FZ and FZR-OW-01 machinery (he also scored the YZF750’s first WSB win) but he also rode for Ducati in World Superbikes and went with them to the new World Supersport championship.
This was a series he finally won in 1998 on the Suzuki GSX-R600. This shot from Mortons Archive shows him in full-flight during the 2000 season. Tough as they come, this hard-as-nails racer never took any prisoners out on track, and his style – coming in part from the off-road world – was all action!
Pirovano finally retired from international bike racing in 2001 following a brace of top five finishes in World Supersport, but he will be forever remembered as one of the first real characters in World Superbike. Sadly he died in 2016. We salute you Piro!
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