Loris Capirossi will honour close friend Marco Simoncelli by racing the late Italian’s number 58 in Sunday’s Valencia MotoGP race.
Capirossi, who will retire after Sunday’s 30-lap clash, revealed he will pay tribute to Simoncelli by replacing his famous number 65 with Simoncelli’s 58.
The Pramac Ducati rider, who is due to make his 327th Grand Prix appearance on Sunday, attended today’s pre-event press conference in Valencia sporting a black armband with Simoncelli’s number 58 on it.
The 24-year-old succumbed to serious head, neck and chest injuries during last month’s Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang when he was involved in a second lap incident with Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi.
Capirossi was seen fighting back tears during an emotional funeral service for Simoncelli in Coriano a week ago and the 37-year-old said: “The situation for this race is very strange because what we saw in Malaysia was so difficult but everybody is here and we try to never forget Marco.
"This is the most important thing because he was part of our lives and he always tried to do the best. I want to honour Marco and I can use the number 58 on my bike in the race to never forget him. I really hope he is happy about that.”
Simoncelli’s number 58 will be retired after Sunday’s race and it was confirmed today that the Misano circuit in Italy will be renamed in honour of the last 250GP world champion.