2011 MotoGP Finale
Following the Sepang tragedy that claimed the life of Marco Simoncelli, the 24-year-old Italian’s team, San Carlo Honda Gresini, was undecided about its presence at this weekend’s MotoGP finale in Valencia.
But as the passionate motorcycle racing community began memorializing Simoncelli, it seemed clearer and clearer that Simoncelli’s team would be there as a tribute.
This was confirmed last week, the Gresini team stating it would display a lonely RC212V donning Simoncelli’s number 58 in a normal paddock setting, the Honda there as tribute to the 2008 250cc MotoGP Champion.
As for Super Sic’s teammate Hiroshi Aoyama or the San Carlo Honda Gresini Moto2 team, it was uncertain if any of the riders would compete at Valencia.
But on Monday, the team headed by Fausto Gresini confirmed Aoyama will compete at Valencia, and the support team of Michele Pirro and Yuki Takahashi will run the Moto2 race.
Fausto Gresini (San Carlo Honda MotoGP Team Manager) says: “The decision to participate was not an easy one, but we have made this choice as it is what Marco would have wanted. Going out on track at Valencia is definitely the best way to honor him by doing what he most loved to do: Ride and experience the world of MotoGP.
“This is why I believe that the best show of affection that we can make to Marco is by lining up our teams and riders for this race. ‘Super Sic’ will be present in the hearts of Hiroshi Aoyama, Michele Pirro and Yuki Takahashi, and I am sure that they will give him a most fitting tribute with their performances on Sunday.”
Simoncelli perished in a lap-two crash at Sepang MotoGP Oct. 23 following a three-rider wreck that involved Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Colin Edwards and Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi. Edwards sustained a broken bone in the wreck, and won’t be riding at Valencia; AMA Superbike’s Josh Hayes will be substituting for the Texan. As for Rossi, he rode away from the incident unharmed.
For a beautifully arranged tribute video of Simoncelli, click here.