Yesterday, Marco Simoncelli died as a result of injuries sustained during the MotoGP race in Sepang. He was 24 years old, a talented rider and the previous winner of the 250cc world championship.
RIP Marco Simoncelli
Growing up in Motorsport, the word dangerous is a natural part of my vocabulary. Tragedies have existed in our sport, some of which are well known and others which are obscure and remain only in the memories of competitors. Yesterday, the world of Motorsport was devastated with the second death in a week. Nothing could have prevented the accident – it was just one of those things that happen. Marco low sided and his bike, instead of sliding off the track, came back across the circuit right into the path of Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi. From the very minute he was hit it was obvious how bad the injury was. His helmet was flung off his head and Colin was sat, dazed at the side of the track. His shoulder dislocated, for which he has received treatment before heading home to be with his family. Valentino managed to avoid crashing during the incident, but rode slowly back to the pits, and as soon as he took off his helmet, the world could see the look of utter devastation on his face as he knew how badly injured his friend was.
I first met Colin when he was racing for the Castrol Honda Racing Team in World Superbikes. He was team mate to Aaron Slight and Aaron and my friend Trevor Crookes raced together at the start of their careers. I smuggled Trevor into the pits and I got to meet these two riders. Colin is one of the nicest riders out there – always smiling, friendly and with a great sense of humour. He is extremely talented and of the age where this is sadly not the first death in a race he has competed in. The weekend I met Colin, Brett McLeod, a South African rider, lost his life – a death that changed my life significantly.
Valentino is one of the most talented riders, not only of his time, but in the history of MotoGP racing. He competed in two seasons of 125cc racing, winning the world title in his second season before moving up a class to 250cc. He again competed for 2 years, winning the championship in his second season before blasting into the 500cc class. He could have won the championship in the first year had he done better at Phakisa. I met him during his second season of premier class racing and this tiny rider is full of determination, Italian temperament, and has proved himself a winner over and over again. He too has witnessed death in his category when Daijiro Kato was killed at Suzuka in 2003.
I know how these riders feel, to lose one of their own doing a sport they love and excel at. My hearts go out to each and every one of them, and the family of Marco. May his soul rest in peace – egli sarà ricordato.
PS – there will be no food post from me today!