Marco Simoncelli an obituary

Another week, another obituary for one of motorsport’s brightest talents. The death of Marco Simoncelli falling just a week after the tragic passing of Dan Wheldon.

Marco Simoncelli began his career in European Motor Bikes winning the 250cc title aged 15 in 2002 before moving into the 250cc World Championship full time in 2003. He won the 2008 250cc title, the first on a competitive bike before finishing third in the same class in 2009. Prior to making the step up to MotoGP Simoncelli took a wildcard berth in the World Superbike race at Imola where he finished third. He earned his first MotoGp ride with Honda  in 2010 on an independent bike before the Gresini San Carlo team was bought closer into the Honda fold for this year. Though Simoncelli had yet to earn his first win in the top class Simoncelli had already become one of the biggest draws for fans.

In 2010 Simoncelli only missed out on points paying positions in two races. In Estoril Simoncelli secured his highest finish in MotoGp just losing a podium finish on the line to Andrea Dovizioso on the factory Repsol Honda. This Season saw Simoncelli crash out of the lead in the wet in Jerez, secure his first podium at Brno and just last week Simoncelli earned his first second place in Australia. But if you want a real flavour of how Simoncelli raced re-watch the Aragon Grand Prix from September this season. A race long battle with Ben Spies culminated in a fourth place for the Italian and victory against another of the sport’s up coming stars.

Marco had been criticised for his aggressive riding earlier in the season following his involvement in Dani Pedrosa’s championship ending crash. Following wide spread criticism Simoncelli redressed his riding style and appeared to have found the correct balance between aggression and risk. Simoncelli had earned the forgiveness of the paddock for his naive errors earlier in the season as he began to limit his mistakes,pick up pole positions and podium finishes. Towards the end of the year he was frequently riding an uncompetitive bike at the sharp end of most grand prix. The Malaysian Grand Prix marked his sixth consecutive front row start.

In a sport of big personalities he had one of the largest. His signature giant afro was frequently aped in the stands by fans while his carefree, laidback personality made him popular with the other riders and journalists. Seven time World Champion Valentino Rossi had become particularly close to Marco Simoncelli, mentoring him following his early season troubles. Rossi had been one of many to tip Simoncelli for greater future success, his death is a major blow to a sport that just last year lost promising Moto2 rider Shoya Tomizawa in a remarkably similar crash.

Simoncelli, like Tomizawa, was struck by fellow competitors as he slid into their path. Unlike Dan Wheldon’s unfortunate death, there is little blame that can be laid on the organisers in this situation. Until the race suits worn by the riders can be made to withstand a near 200mph impact from a motorbike this is always a risk that riders will have to face.

Having said that I would like to make it clear that the Moto2 class is in desperate need of a reassessment. I love the large grids in Moto2 they do make for exciting racing, but they do so at the expense of rider safety, this is utterly unacceptable now.  Following Dan Wheldon’s death I nearly wrote an article calling for a rethink but decided against it at the risk of sounding morose. However, in the light of this latest tragedy I feel it is imperative that the Moto2 class is altered. At present inexperienced riders race in 38 strong grids in close proximity. This is a field double the size of the present MotoGP field. The sheer number of bikes on the track makes it more likely that an accident similar to those that took the lives of Tomizawa and Simoncelli will happen again.

Sportupdatesuk would like to pass on our sympathies to the family and friends of Marco Simoncelli. We leave you with tributes from the world of motorsport.

Valentino Rossi – Eight Time MotoGp Champion

“The MotoGP will never be the same without Marco Simoncelli”.

Cal Crutchlow – British MotoGP Rider

“RIP Marco Simoncelli ! A great rider and all round nice guy. My thoughts are with all his family & friends. I will never forget today … #58”

Marino Franchetti – Motor Racing Driver

“Can’t believe this, RIP Marco Simoncelli. What a terrible week for our sport, we’ll drink to him & Danny boy tonight.”

Leon Haslam – British World Superbike Rider

“What terrible news. R.I.P. MARCO my thoughts to all his family and friends…”

Andrea Dovizioso – MotoGP rider

“RIP Marco. My thoughts and my prayers are with Marco’s family and friends”

Ben Spies – MotoGp Rider

“Super Sic rest easy…..”

Mark Webber – Formula One Driver

“R.I.P Marco A special talent that will be missed… Thinking of your loved ones, and all the motogp paddock..mark”

Juan Pablo Montoya – NASCAR Driver

“RIP Marco Simoncelli. he was such a nice guy. My thoughts and prayers to his family and all his friends.”

Dani Pedrosa – MotoGP rider

“In a tragedy like this there is not much to say. I just want to give my condolences to his family and all the people who love him. I’ve been with his father and all we could do was to hug, nothing else matters. It was a fatal accident and everybody in the paddock remains in shock. Many times we ourselves forget how dangerous this sport can be and when you lose people on the way nothing has any meaning. It’s clear that we all do what we like, what we love, but on days like today nothing matters”.

Gavin Emmett – MotoGP Commentator

“What a character off the track, what a racer on it. #58”

Casey Stoner – MotoGp World Champion

“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.”


One Response to “Marco Simoncelli an obituary”
  1. T S Rowson says:

    A huge loss and a sad day for motorsport as a whole. Our thoughts are with friends, family, and the MotoGP paddock. RIP Marco.

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