Life is a cruel thing, sometimes. Such is the case that I’m now writing a second obituary in the space of just eight days.
This time, I admit, I’m a little more qualified to talk about with knowledge than what I did with Dan Wheldon. Today, I have to talk about a man who was seemingly invincible.
Marco Simoncelli, at the age of 24, lost his life after a horror accident in the Malaysian MotoGP race today. Unmistakable with his stand-out hair (occasionally drawing comparisons with The Simpsons’ character Sideshow Bob) and his flamboyant personality, Marco was a well-loved individual, even if his on-track riding would irk his rivals at times.
Now over the past few years, I’d slowly been getting in to MotoGP, as it was allowing me an alternative when F1 wasn’t on. The wheel-to-wheel action was amazing, often side-by-side racing each other without even making contact. These guys are precision riders, and brave to go down straights at over 200MPH when so unprotected.
This year though was something different. I’d caught every race, maybe not live, but I’d seen them all this year. I was supporting Casey Stoner to take the crown as I like the Aussie, but from race 2 a midfield rider took my notice - Marco Simoncelli.
After a collision between Stoner and Rossi in a wet Jerez GP, Simoncelli - who had rode his way up the front - found himself in the shocking position of leading the race. Sadly, a first win in the top tier was cruelly denied after he would later slide out of the race in the same corner where the Rossi/Stoner collision occurred.
I kept an eye out on Simoncelli, and hoping that he would get what he deserved. Throughout the year, he consistently tried fighting for podiums, but would either not be good enough on the day or crash out when in a podium position.
Simoncelli would also, sadly, get on the wrong side of the other riders by sometimes being slightly too aggressive. In the French MotoGP race at Le Mans, a collision between him and Dani Pedrosa would leave the Spaniard with a broken collarbone and unable to compete for the next few races, and on more than one occasion Simoncelli would collide with former World Champion Jorge Lorenzo, ruining both riders’ races.
In Czech Republic though, it all started to come together. It was a strong race for Super Sic, and managed to secure a well-deserved 3rd place. And then to top it off last weekend, finishing 2nd in the Australian GP.
Marco was going to move to the World Championship team Honda next year, where he would’ve easily fought for wins and potentially even the Championship too. Instead, I write here about a young man only two years older than myself who now no longer walks this Earth with us.
I can only thank you Marco for truly getting me in to this sport, and though you leave with no wins to your name, you are a champion in all of our hearts. Rest in Peace.
When it rains, it truly does pour.