Whenever anyone dies young it hurts those who knew them so much more than if they have lived a full life. When it is a young talented athlete, the attention is greater and the grief widespread. Such is the feeling around the world after the death at the weekend of MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli aged just 24.
Simoncelli had finished second to World Champion Casey Stoner just last week in the Australian MotoGP. Yesterday he was involved in what many have described as a “freak accident” just minutes into the Malaysian MotoGP. Simoncelli’s helmet came off in the accident and he later succumbed to his injuries.
Simoncelli first entered MotoGP last year. He won his first pole position last June at the Catalunya race. His first podium finish was in the Czech Republic in August when he was third.
Simoncelli had started in the 125cc class in 2002 and moved up to the 250cc class in 2006. He claimed the 250cc world title in 2008.
Earlier in the year at the French Grand Prix at Le Mans, Simoncelli collided with Dani Pedrosa while the pair were battling for second place; the crash saw Pedrosa break his collarbone.
Simoncelli received a ride-through penalty, and eventually finished fifth in the race.
He initially rejected blame for the crash, but before the next race, he accepted that he needed to reflect on his riding style.
Now motorcycling fans are left to reflect on what might have been as the sport loses a young talent far too early.