MotoGP World Champions Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner have led the tributes for Marco Simoncelli after his tragic death in the Malaysian Grand Prix. The 24 year old succumbed to chest, head and neck injuries which were sustained when he lost control of his Honda on lap two before being struck by Rossi and Colin Edwards.
Rossi looked upon his countryman as a “brother” in the MotoGP paddock while Stoner, crowned the 2011 champion a week ago, admitted the tragedy put everything in perspective.
Casey Stoner – “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.”
Dani Pedrosa – “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.”
Andrea Dovizioso – “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.”
Taka Horio – General Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department – “Today we are left devastated. Our thoughts and prayers are with Marco’s family at this terrible, terrible time, and with his team. Words can do no justice to the emotion we are all feeling. The MotoGP family has lost one of its bright stars, a genuine character whose larger-than-life persona, charisma and unstoppable spirit were infectious, and we’ve all lost a great friend.”
“We worked closely with Marco for his first two years in MotoGP and it was clear that he was a true racer, something he proved again and again this season. Determined to the end, and a great showman. His ascent through the field in just two seasons has been fantastic to watch, testament to his raw talent, ability and dedication to the sport he so loved. We remember fondly the tenacity and spirit with which he raced, and he will be sorely, sorely missed.”
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP – “R.I.P Marco Simoncelli, 20 January 1987 – 23 October 2011 – A true competitor.“
Pramac Racing Team – “Ciao Marco. You will always be in our hearts.“
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – “RIP Super Sic – A much-loved star on and off the track.”
Yamaha Factory Racing – “Yamaha wish to convey the deepest heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of Marco Simoncelli following the tragic accident today at the Grand Prix of Malaysia. Marco was a worthy competitor and rising star of MotoGP who will be deeply missed by all.”
Ducati Team: “Ducati, its team and its riders are deeply affected by the tragedy that struck the MotoGP world today, and they gather around the family, friends and team of Marco Simoncelli, who lost his life in a terrible accident during the Malaysian Grand Prix.
We will always remember Marco for his smile, his enthusiasm, his big heart and for the incredible emotions he allowed us to experience in recent years. He was one of us.”
Valentino Rossi – “Sic for me was like a youngest brother.so strong on track and so sweet in the normal life. I will miss him a lot.”
Cal Crutchlow – “RIP Marco Simoncelli! A great rider and all round nice guy. My thoughts are with all his family & friends. I will never forget today â€¦ #58″
Nicky Hayden – “Sometimes life just don’t make sense… RIP #58 you were a star on & off track we all going to miss you… #MotoGP #family”.
John Hopkins – “God Speed #58 Simoncelli …. Your fighting spirit will live on forever!!!”
Danny Kent – “RIP simmonceli, what a great racer we’ve lost :( love goes to you and family <3 xx”
Jenson Button – “R.I.P Marco… Such an exciting talent lost. My thoughts are with his family, friends and everyone involved in MotoGP.”
Lewis Hamilton – “RIP #MarcoSimoncelli. My thoughts are with his family, friends and team at this extremely sad time. Another tragic loss at such an early age”
Mark Webber – “R.I.P Marco A special talent that will be missed… Thinking of your loved ones, and all the motogp paddockâ€¦mark“
Heikki Kovalainen – “I can’t believe motogp star Simoncelli has died in a crash, another great talent lost today“
Rubens Barrichello – “it was so so hard to hear the news this morning here in Brazil. The death of another great guy and great rider…RIP Simoncelli…”
Sebastien Buemi – “RIP Marco Simoncelli! I just can’t believe what happened in Sepang! Motogp lost one of the best driver ever!“
Mario Andretti – “When it rains it pours. I’m terribly sad that Marco Simoncelli was killed in MotoGP this AM. He had the form of a champion. Heartbreaking”
Carl Fogarty – “Devastated to hear that marco simoncelli has died..the guy was a breath of fresh air in moto gp.. Can’t believe it.“
Jonathan Rea – “Rest in peace Marco Simoncelli! A true inspiration, amazing rider and gentleman! Your legacy will never be forgotten!“
Eugene Laverty – “Devastated to hear of the death of Marco Simoncelli, one of the best of our generation. Thoughts go out to his family. RIP Marco“.
Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne – “RIP #58, Marco Simoncelli, legend…“
Toby Moody – “Marco Simoncelli. Laughing and racing one minute; gone the next. So cruel. We think these days will never happen, but they do. And when they do it’s terrible. Have a great race in the sky #58.“
Matt Roberts – “Unthinkably difficult for Marco’s father and girlfriend who were also here. My thoughts with them & most of all with Marco. As outrageous on the track as he was off it, he leaves a huge gap that will never be filled“
On such an emotional day for everyone in motorsport, the last word must go to Simoncelli’s San Carlo Honda Gresini team whose post-race press release simply read “Ciao “Super Sic”.