Honda trio pay tribute to Marco Simoncelli

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New MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso have paid tribute to fellow factory Honda rider Marco Simoncelli after the Italian passed away following a horrific crash in yesterday’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

Simoncelli succumbed to massive head, neck and chest trauma after his crash on the second lap at Turn 11.

The 24-year-old was struck by Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi and after a 45-minute battle to save his life, he was pronounced dead less than an hour after the accident.

The announcement of his passing sparked emotional scenes in the paddock and Repsol Honda trio Stoner, Pedrosa and Dovizioso led moving tributes that began to pour in from the motorsport community.

Stoner, who was leading the 20-lap race when it was red flagged, said: "I'm so shocked and saddened by the loss of Marco. When things like this happen it reminds you how precious life is, it makes me feel sick inside. All I can say is how sorry I am for Marco's whole family I can't imagine what they are all going through and our thoughts and wishes are with them at this time. I hope they all stay close and pull through this tragedy together."

Simoncelli’s fellow Italian Dovizioso said: "In these circumstances, words don’t seem to be appropriate. I think of Marco’s family and all the people dear to him, in particular his father and mother. I also have a child and what happened today is the hardest situation you can imagine. I watched the images and I’m shocked. In a race you fight and push hard and disaster is often around the corner. Marco was a strong rider and he always pushed hard. We raced together since we were kids. I saw him always pushing to the maximum, he crashed many times, but without major injuries, he was seemed invincible. What happened today seems impossible."

Spaniard Dani Pedrosa, who had started the race from pole position, said: "In a tragedy like this there is not much to say. I just want to give my condolences to his family and all the people who love him. I've been with his father and all we could do was to hug, nothing else matters. It was a fatal accident and everybody in the paddock remains in shock. Many times we ourselves forget how dangerous this sport can be and when you lose people on the way nothing has any meaning. It's clear that we all do what we like, what we love, but on days like today nothing matters."

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt