LESS THAN A week after losing Dan Wheldon, motorsport has suffered another tragic death.
Italian rider Marco Simoncelli died on Sunday after crashing at the Malaysian MotoGP race in Sepang.
The 24-year-old’s bike was seen cutting across the track as he fell from his bike and into the path of Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi. Powerless to change their course, the two riders crashed into the Simoncelli, who lost his helmet during the impact.
The race was immediately red-flagged and once it became apparent that Simoncelli had suffered serious injuries, the entire event was cancelled.
Warning: graphic content – to see Simoncelli’s crash, click here.
A statement on the MotoGP website read: “On Sunday 23rd October, during the MotoGP race at the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit, San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Italian rider Marco Simoncelli suffered a serious accident wherein he sustained critical injuries.
“The race was stopped immediately with the red flag and Simoncelli was transported by ambulance to the circuit medical centre where the medical staff worked to resuscitate him.
“Despite their efforts, Marco sadly succumbed to his injuries at 4:56pm local time. Everybody involved in MotoGP extends its deepest condolences to Marco’s family, friends and team at this tragic loss.”
The tragedy is the first death in MotoGP since Japan’s Daijiro Katoh crashed and died at his home Grand Prix in 2003. Racing in Honda colours, Simoncelli entered the sport last year and had claimed two podium finishes – in the Czech Republic and Australia – to date this season.
“As soon as I saw the footage it just makes you sick inside,” World Champion Casey Stoner said afterwards.
“Whenever the helmet comes off that’s not a good sign.”