(PHOTO) Thousands of Fans Pay Respects to Marco Simoncelli

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Thousands of fans lined up in the rain to pay their final respects to MotoGP star Marco Simoncelli during a public viewing in his hometown at Coriano.

Marco Simoncelli's body, who died after losing control of during Sunday's MotoGP race in Malaysia, was on show in an open coffin in a theatre in Coriano, a province in Rimini.

Two motorcycles - one that he won the 250cc championship with in 2008 and another that he rode this season - were placed behind as fans paid their respects.

Simoncelli, who was 24, was a rising star in the sport and, with his trademark mop of curly hair, was loved by Italy's legions of motorsport fans. His funeral is planned for Thursday.

Simoncelli's body arrived back in Italy on Tuesday, two days after Sunday's fatal accident in the Malaysian Grand Prix.

His father Paolo and rider Valentino Rossi were aboard the flight that arrived at Rome's Leonardo Da Vinci airport. They were greeted by Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Petrucci.

Petrucci ordered a minute's silence before all football matches Sunday and players wore black armbands as a tribute to the young rider.

'On Sunday when we held a minute's silence there was a total demonstration of how much this kid was loved,' Petrucci said. 'We're here to demonstrate the love and affection for this kid.'

Simoncelli died of chest, head and neck injuries after he lost control of his Honda and swerved across the track, straight into the path of American rider Colin Edwards and Rossi.

Friend: Rider Marco Melandri arrives to pay his last respects
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