MotoGP and F1 racers pay tribute to killed rider Simoncelli

MotoGP and F1 racers pay tribute to Honda rider Simoncelli, who was killed in a crash during the Malaysian GP yesterday; IndyCar racer Dan Wheldon suffered similar fate last week in Las Vegas  

The death of Italian Marco Simoncelli at the Malaysian GP yesterday left motor sport in a state of shock for a second consecutive weekend. Simoncelli crashed after losing control of his bike on the second lap of the circuit in Sepang and appeared to be hit by Colin Edwards and then Valentino Rossi as he slid across the track.

The 24-year-old Gresini Honda rider's helmet came off in the collision and he was taken to the medical centre for treatment, but he was declared dead at 1656 local time.

Unfortunate: Race marshalls attend to Honda's Marco Simoncelli
following his fatal crash during the Malaysian MotoGP yesterday. Pics/AFP

Organisers cancelled the race as soon as the extent of Simoncelli's injuries became apparent. Simoncelli's death comes a week after British racing driver Dan Wheldon, a two-time Indy 500 race winner, was killed in a 15-car pile-up at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.


Spanish rider Dani Pedrosa said: "Many times we ourselves forget how dangerous this sport can be and when you lose people on the way nothing has any meaning."

Newly-crowned MotoGP champion Casey Stoner added: "When things like this happen it reminds you how precious life is, it makes me feel sick inside.

Simoncelli, who won the 250cc world championship in 2008, clinching the crown in Sepang, stepped up to MotoGP in 2010 and he finished eighth overall last season.

His death was the first fatality in MotoGP since Japan's Daijiro Katoh died from his injuries sustained at the 2003 Japanese Grand Prix.

Tributes also poured in from the wider world of motorsport. 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."

Briton's Jenson Button wrote on his Twitter 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..."

The incident:
Honda's Simoncelli (white) loses control  and slides into the track on Turn 11.
* Ducati's Valentino Rossi (red) and Yamaha's Colin Edwards (black)  follow from behind and collide with the Italian, who loses his helmet during the crash.
* Simoncelli is taken to the medical centre where he is declared dead.
* Organisers cancel the race as soon as they learn about Simoncelli's condition.

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