MotoGP honours Simoncelli at Sepang

Friday, October 19, 2012
MotoGP paid tribute to one of its fallen stars at Sepang on Thursday, when a plaque in memory of Marco Simoncelli was unveiled at the corner that claimed his life one year ago.

Simoncelli, a winner of 14 grand prix races and the 2008 250cc world champion, lost his life when he fell from his Gresini Honda and was then dragged into the path of oncoming competitors, on lap two of last year's Malaysian MotoGP.

The popular, hard-riding 'Super Sic' was nearing the end of a breakthrough second season in the premier-class, which has seen the 24-year-old Italian take his first pole positions and podiums.

On Thursday, the MotoGP paddock walked behind Simoncelli's Gresini team from pit lane to turn 11, where team owner Fausto Gresini placed the permanent plaque in his honour.

After this there was a moment's silence, followed by a round of applause, then a two-minute silence. Paddock members then went up to the plaque to pay their own private respects.

“Everybody in the paddock came to turn 11. It was very 'deep',” said seven time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi, a good friend of Simoncelli who, like Colin Edwards, became caught up in last year's tragic incident.

“Already one year has passed, but when these things happen it is difficult to understand time. It is like the first day, because we miss him a lot.”

MotoGP has returned to Sepang twice since last October's tragic race, for pre-season testing, and there is no suggestion that the circuit design contributed to Simoncelli's injuries.

A new rookie of the year trophy in Simoncelli's honour is also expected to be announced on Saturday.

Although he seemed to feel the sweltering Malaysian heat more than most, Sepang was the scene of Simoncelli's 250cc title triumph and he finished on the podium twice at the circuit.

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