A week after Indycar racer Dan Wheldon died at the Las Vegas Indy 300, the racing world mourns the loss of another talented racer. Marco Simoncelli died today during the penultimate race of the 2011 MotoGP season in Malaysia.
Simoncelli’s fatal crash occurred just four minutes into the race. The Gresini Honda racer lost control of his motorcycle and swerved from the outside of the track to the inside, hitting the pavement in front of Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards. The two MotoGP riders could not avoid Super Sic.
All About Bikes reports that Simoncelli lost his helmet in the crash and suffered serious injuries as Edwards and Rossi crashed into him. The race was red-flagged and subsequently cancelled as emergency workers rushed Simoncelli to the infield medical center, but first responders could not resuscitate the Honda racer.
Casey Stoner, who clinched the 2011 MotoGP championship last weekend, said:
“I’m so shocked and saddened by the loss of Marco. When things like this happen it reminds you how precious life is, it makes me feel sick inside. All I can say is how sorry I am for Marco’s whole family I can’t imagine what they are all going through and our thoughts and wishes are with them at this time. I hope they all stay close and pull through this tragedy together.”
With just one race left in the 2011 MotoGP season, Marco Simoncelli was tied in 6th place with MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi. Simoncelli took two podiums during the 2011 season, two pole positions, and was truly showing flashes of greatness. Simoncelli was at the beginning of a young, promising, and limitless career.
Honda Racing Corporation Executive Vice President, Shuhei Nakamoto, said:
“I just don’t know what to say; words escape me. Marco was a very nice guy and a very talented rider. Sometimes I was a little harsh with him, for example after his first MotoGP podium in Brno when I told him, ‘Lucky podium!’ and he was so angry, but I wanted to motivate him as I knew he was able to do even more. I was thinking that when he won his first race we would have been able to celebrate together. Now I just want to say thank you to Marco, for what you gave me, and pass my sincere condolences to his family at this very sad time.”
With his “Troy Polamalu” style hair, his humor, and his aggressive personality, Marco Simoncelli will leave a void on the MotoGP grid that will be hard to fill.