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Monday, October 24, 2011

'All his father could do was hug me': Team-mate consoles family who watched in horror as motorcyclist is killed during Malaysian Moto GP

-Rider lost control of his bike before he appeared to be hit by Colin Edwards and then Valentino Rossi

By Daily Mail Reporter

Italian motorcyclist Marco Simoncelli died in a horrific crash at yesterday's MotoGP race in Malaysia, in full view of his devastated family and girlfriend.

The 24-year-old was flung from his bike and skidded across the track, before apparently being hit by competitors Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi.

His mother Rossella, father Paolo and girlfriend Kate watched in horror as Simoncelli's bike was smashed to pieces after his dramatic loss of control in the second lap.

They wept in shock as the unconscious rider was taken to the medical centre at the track in Sepang for treatment, but his injuries to the chest, head and neck were too serious for him to be saved.

Simoncelli's fellow Honda rider Dani Pedrosa, who had fallen out with Simoncelli earlier in the season, said: 'I've been with his father and all we could do was to hug, nothing else matters.

'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.'

He added: '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.'

The rider's girlfriend, Kate looked ashen-faced and she walked through the deserted MotoGP garages.

Fans were also spotted huddled near the track sobbing over the rider's death. He had only moved up to MotoGP level last year.

The fatal accident comes just a week after British IndyCar racing driver Dan Wheldon died after crashing in Las Vegas.

Organisers cancelled the race soon after Simoncelli's accident and said in a bulletin reported on website Autosport: 'Race cancelled as the medical centre staff is focusing on treating Marco Simoncelli and track action cannot be resumed in the current circumstances.'

The rider was given CPR in the ambulance which continued for 45 minutes but Simoncelli was declared dead at 4.56pm local time.

Devastation: Simonelli's mother Rossella is comforted outside the medical centre after her son's fatal crash

Agony: Marco Simoncelli's father is comforted as he waits outside a medical centre where the rider was taken following a crash at the Malaysian Grand Prix

Deadly: The rider (No 58) is seen sliding from his bike and colliding with two other riders in a horrifying crash

Empty: Simoncelli's girlfriend Kate walks through an empty Honda garage after the shocking accident

Yesterday tributes were posted on Twitter in memory of the talented rider.

British Formula One driver Jenson Button wrote on his account: 'R.I.P Marco... Such an exciting talent lost. My thoughts are with his family, friends and everyone involved in MotoGP. Motorsport can be so cruel...'

And Button's Formula One teammate Lewis Hamilton wrote: 'My thoughts are with his family, friends and team at this extremely sad time. Another tragic loss at such an early age.'

Newly-crowned MotoGP champion Casey Stoner said: 'I'm so shocked and saddened by the loss of Marco. When things like this happen it reminds you how precious life is.

The Australian told BBC2: 'As soon as I saw the footage it just makes you sick inside. Whenever the helmet comes off, that's not a good sign.'

Tragedy: Simoncelli (centre) takes the first corner on his second lap moment before the fatal crash at the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix

Crew members of the Honda team of Marco Simoncelli of Italy console each other as they gather outside a medical centre where the rider was taken following a crash at the Malaysian Grand Prix

A message on the MotoGP website read: 'Marco Simoncelli succumbed to injuries sustained in Malaysia.'

Simoncelli's compatriot and Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso said: '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.'

Moment of horror: Simoncelli loses control and is seen coming off the bike

Disaster: Simoncelli fatally falls off of his Honda after colliding into Colin Edwards

Fall: Edwards spins off the track along with Simoncelli's bike as the 24-year-old Italian devastatingly lies motionless

Race marshalls attend to Honda rider Simoncelli (C) following his fatal crash just four minutes after the start of the Malaysian MotoGP race

Devastated: Colin Edwards of the US who was involved in the crash stands at the side of the track after the fatal crash

The last death in MotoGP came at the 2003 Japanese Grand Prix, when Japan's Daijiro Katoh died from his injuries.

Medical director at Clinica Mobile Dr Michele Macchiagodena said at a press conference yesterday that U.S. rider Edwards had suffered a dislocated shoulder in the crash but it had been reset and he was 'fine'.

When asked about Simoncelli's helmet coming off, race director Paul Butler said at the press conference: 'I think if I may reply, that will be for another occasion. Quite clearly the consequences and circumstances surrounding the accident will be thoroughly investigated.'

Australian Formula One driver Mark Webber wrote on Twitter: 'R.I.P Marco A special talent that will be missed... Thinking of your loved ones, and all the motogp paddock..mark.'

British MotoGP rider Cal Crutchlow tweeted: 'RIP Marco Simoncelli ! A great rider and all round nice guy. My thoughts are with all his family & friends. I will never forget today.'

Tribute: Driver Lewis Hamilton described Simoncelli's death as 'another tragic loss', coming just a week after IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon was killed in a racing accident

Inconsolable: Stunned fans wept after the brutal accident killed the MotoGP star

Just after the accident, Tony Elias, Moto2 world champion, had spoken of his prayers that Simoncelli's injuries were not serious.

'We just hope Marco is OK - that's my wish,' he said.

Last week British IndyCar racing driver Dan Wheldon died after he was catapulted helplessly into the air in a 225mph smash before landing on a barrier and suffering fatal head injuries.

Just days earlier the father-of-two joined a number of other drivers in expressing the fears over the speed of cars and overcrowding on the oval-shaped track.

But in a blog post, he had promised fans he would go out to win and put on a show of 'pure entertainment'.

Grief: Simonelli's spare motorcycle sits in an empty garage after the race was abandoned one lap in after his sudden death



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