|Marco Simoncelli was a rising star in the sport who many predicted would become a MotoGP champion [GETTY]|
Honda Gresini have pulled out of the season-ending Valencia Grand Prix following the death of Italian MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli in Malaysia on Sunday.
Simoncelli, 24, was killed during the race at Sepang when he lost control of his bike and was struck by fellow riders Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi.
“The only certainty is that my team won’t participate in the upcoming Valencia Grand Prix and in the tests programmed after the race,” team chief Fausto Gresini told Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport on Tuesday.
“Everything happened so fast. I’m lost for words. I know our job is dangerous, that risk is part of the game, but you always hope nothing happens. When it does happen and you find yourself in the middle of it, everything changes, it’s difficult to accept it.
“The crash was caused by a sequence of incredibly negative circumstances, the bike that moved towards the inside of the turn instead of the outside, being run over on the widest track of the season”
Team chief Fausto Gresini
“The crash was caused by a sequence of incredibly negative circumstances, the bike that moved towards the inside of the turn instead of the outside, being run over on the widest track of the season.”
Members of the Honda Gresini team are planning to attend the November 4-6 Valencia Grand Prix where the sport will honour the memory of the Italian, the official MotoGP website reported.
Simoncelli’s funeral is due to take place on Thursday. His body was flown back to Italy on Tuesday with Simoncelli’s father, Paolo, and fellow rider Valentino Rossi aboard the flight that arrived at Rome’s Leonardo Da Vinci airport near dawn.
A public viewing of Simoncelli’s body is planned for Wednesday in the city theater of his hometown, Coriano.
Rossi, the seven-time world champion, was a good friend of Simoncelli’s.
“Marco was a star and I’ll never forget him,” said the normally radiant Rossi, who was wearing a black hat and sweatshirt.
“There are a lot of memories that I’ll hold onto. We were together everyday, we trained together and racing was our passion. We already knew that this was something that can happen.”
Rossi, who is struggling with Ducati this season, dismissed speculation that he might retire in the aftermath of the crash.
“I never said that. It was probably made up just to sell newspapers,” Rossi said.
Simoncelli, who was 24, was a rising star in the sport and with his trademark mop of curly hair was beloved by Italy’s legions of motorcycle racing fans.
He won the 250cc world title in 2008 and was predicted by many to be a future MotoGP world champion.
Petrucci ordered a minute’s silence before all football matches Sunday and players wore black armbands as a tribute to the young rider.
“On Sunday when we held a minute’s silence there was a total demonstration of how much this kid was loved,” Petrucci said.
“We’re here to demonstrate the love and affection for this kid.”