HRC stunned by Marco Simoncelli death

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HRC Vice-President Shuhei Nakamoto has spoken of his shock and sadness after factory Honda rider Marco Simoncelli died as a result of a second lap crash in yesterday’s Malaysian MotoGP race at the Sepang International Circuit.

Simoncelli lost control of his San Carlo Gresini Honda machine at Turn 11 and the former 250GP world champion slid into the path of Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi.

Both struck the Italian rider, who later died from serious head, neck and chest injuries.

The 24-year-old was the first MotoGP rider to die since Daijiro Kato, who succumbed to multiple injuries after a crash at Suzuka in 2003.

The Japanese star also raced for Fausto Gresini’s Italian-based squad.

Nakamoto said: "I just don't know what to say; words escape me. Marco was a very nice guy and a very talented rider. Sometimes I was a little harsh with him, for example after his first MotoGP podium in Brno when I told him, 'Lucky podium!' and he was so angry, but I wanted to motivate him as I knew he was able to do even more. I was thinking that when he won his first race we would have been able to celebrate together. Now I just want to say thank you to Marco, for what you gave me, and pass my sincere condolences to his family at this very sad time."

Simoncelli had just signed a new contract with HRC prior to the Japanese Grand Prix earlier this month and he had impressed in his first test on board Honda’s new 1000cc RC213V machine.

His death came just seven days after he scored the best MotoGP result of his career with second in Phillip Island.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt