Today’s World Superbike Championship meeting in Russia had ended in tragedy after Italian rider Andrea Antonelli was fatally injured in the Supersport race at Moscow Raceway.
Conditions were terrible following persistent rain which began in the first World Superbike race, won by Marco Melandri, and intensified as the day went on and the riders were struggling for grip in the Supersport race. Antonelli, who had started a career best fourth, lost control on the back straight between turns fourteen and fifteen on the opening lap and in the cloud of spray, Lorenzo Zanetti was unable to avoid the stricken rider who suffered a serious cranium base fracture.
The race was red flagged soon afterwards with Antonelli receiving urgent medical attention in a trackside ambulance but despite efforts to resuscitate him, he succumbed to his injuries a little over half an hour later.
The 25 year old, from Castiglione del Lago, was taking part of his second full season in World Supersport having spent the early years of his career in the Superstock classes, finishing as runner-up in the 2007 Superstock 600 Championship.
A minute’s silence will be held in his honour at Laguna Seca ahead of tonight’s United States Grand Prix while tributes have been pouring in from riders across the SBK paddock, as well as the wider motorsport community. Althea Racing, who Antonelli rode for in Superstock 1000 in 2008, “will remember him as a humble and joyful boy”, while Chaz Davies described him as “one of the brightest talents in Supersport”.
A promising career has been tragically cut short and everyone at The Checkered Flag would like to pass on their condolences to his family and friends.