Marco Simoncelli killed in Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang. On the weekend Dan Wheldon was laid to rest in Florida, another tragedy has struck the world of motorsports. The penultimate round of the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix was only on its second lap when the popular Italian lost control of his Honda bike.
The 24-year old Italian, in his second season of MotoGP competition, was fighting for fourth place with Spanish rider Alvaro Bautista when he lost the front of his Gresini Honda. The bike and the rider slid across the Sepang track giving Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi no chance or time to take evasive action.
Both Edwards and Rossi made heavy contact with Simoncelli, forcing his helmet to come-off. The Texan also crashed heavily and suffered a dislocated shoulder.
Rossi managed to stay on the bike and, with Simoncelli motionless on the track, the race was red-flagged.
Medical Director Michele Macchiagodena described Simoncelli’s injuries as “very serious trauma to the head, to the neck and the chest.”
The last fatality in MotoGP was in the 2003 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka when local rider, Daijiro Kato, succumbed to his injuries after crashing into the wall.
Australian Casey Stoner, who re-gained his crown in the last event on home soil said, “As soon as I saw the footage it just makes you sick inside. Whenever the helmet comes off that’s not a good sign.”
Motor cycle events at Mugello this weekend were cancelled and major Italian sporting events observed a one minute silence in memory of Simoncelli.
Marco Simoncelli was born on January 20, 1987 in the Rimini town of Cattolica. At age 15, he won the 2002 European 125cc Championship. In 2008, he scored his first 250cc victory on home soil and was crowned 250cc Champion at the end of the season.
The following season he finished third in the same category and for 2010 moved to the premiere league with Gresini Honda team. His first MotoGP pole came this year in Barcelona, and first podium appearance was in Brno, Czech Republic.
His highest career finish in MotoGP was in the previous round at Phillip Island where was second to Stoner.
Like Wheldon, 2012 season promised greater glory as Simoncelli and Gresini team had agreed to continue their co-operation with full Honda blessing
Sadly, tragic events on back-to-back weekends have robbed the motorsports world of great performers and characters.
F1 Weekly extends sympathies and condolences to Simoncelli’s family and friends.
— Nasir Hameed