I will always remember Simoncelli’s last 30 seconds or so and the amazing battle he had just been having with Alvaro Bautista – some of the year’s best racing and pure Super Sic at his determined best. I hope people will remember those penultimate moments at least as strongly as the awful instant in which he was killed.
There are plenty of people in MotoGP and WSBK who have somehow crashed their way through a career without coming to serious harm, but without achieving much either, other than creating a pile of bent bikes, while better racers missed out on a ride.
Marco had plenty of crashes and sometimes brought others to grief, but he got closer to the pinnacle of his sport and his life’s passion than most ever will. In the end Sepang was a freak accident – to lowside it, then have the bike partly recover, the tyres grip and shoot you back onto the racing line, is bad luck.
There was no bravado or (apart from the hair) wacky antics with Simoncelli, just a smiling face and hard riding. Through all the controversies I only ever saw him argue when it was in defence of himself. He never went out to actively criticise his peers, from what I saw. “OK, I will be arrest,” was his joking reply when Lorenzo made an unspecified threat about what might happen if Super Sic didn’t tone down his racing style. I think Simoncelli had a true respect for those around him, even those with whom he didn’t get on.
People do tend to wheel out the cliches on these occasions but I feel nothing could be more apt than to say: what a true racer, what a great young man, what a dreadful loss.