MotoGP paddock pays emotional tribute to Marco Simoncelli

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The MotoGP paddock, led by the Gresini Honda team, has paid an emotional tribute to late Italian star Marco Simoncelli on the eve of the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang today.

The 24-year-old tragically lost his life after an accident on the second lap of last October’s Sepang race and hundreds of members of the paddock attended a special ceremony at Turn 11 this afternoon.

A tearful Fausto Gresini erected a special plaque at the corner where Simoncelli succumbed to serious injuries after an accident involving American Colin Edwards and close friend Valentino Rossi.

Rossi said: “It was very strange but everybody in the paddock arrived in Turn 11 where Marco crashed last year. It is very deep (emotion) and it is already one year and when happen these things it is difficult to understand the time like the first day. In the paddock we miss him a lot.”

Reigning MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner, who finished on the podium with Simoncelli in the Italian’s last MotoGP finish at Phillip Island, said: “I’m sure it will be fresher on everyone’s mind this weekend being the anniversary but I think the worst point was getting back on track at the test here in February.

“This was worse than coming here to race. Last year wasn’t a good time here and now with the entire paddock here everyone is thinking about it again. It is good day to pay our respects to him.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt