Italy in mourning as tragic Simoncelli's body is flown back home for funeral
WARNING: INCLUDES GRAPHIC PICTURE CONTENT
Last updated at 11:01 AM on 26th October 2011
Sourced from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/othersports/article-2053209/Marco-Simoncelli-funeral-Italy-mourns-body-flown-home-death-crash.html
The body of MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli has arrived back in Italy following Sunday's fatal accident in the Malaysian Grand Prix.Simoncelli's father Paolo and fellow rider Valentino Rossi were aboard the flight that arrived at Rome's Leonardo Da Vinci airport on Tuesday.
They were greeted by Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Petrucci.
Devastated: Marco Simoncelli's father Paolo (left) is embraced by Italian Olympic president Giovanni Petrucci
Home: Airport officials remove the container with the coffin of Simoncelli on the Rome runway on Tuesday
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.'
Simoncelli died of chest, head and neck injuries after he lost control of his Honda and swerved across the track, straight into the path of American rider Colin Edwards and Rossi.
Rossi, the seven-time world champion, was a good friend of Simoncelli's.
A public viewing of Simoncelli's body is planned for Wednesday in the city theatre of his hometown, Coriano, with the funeral scheduled for Thursday.
Tribute: A biker pays homage as the car with the body of Simoncelli leaves the airport in Rome
Rossi led the tributes for Simoncelli after he became the second high-profile death in motorsport in a week.
Simoncelli was killed exactly a week after British star Dan Wheldon died at the IndyCar 300 in Las Vegas.
Loss: Marco's father Paolo as the hearse drives away on Tuesday morning
The Gresini Honda rider lost control of his bike on the second lap of the circuit in Sepang and was hit by Edwards and Rossi.
The 24-year-old's helmet came off in the collision and he was taken to the medical centre for treatment, but died from his injuries.
Simoncelli suffered 'serious trauma' to the head, neck and chest in the accident.
The organisers cancelled Sunday's race as soon as the extent of Simoncelli's injuries became apparent.
Gresini Racing has now withdrawn its teams from the season-ending races at Valencia.
Team boss Fausto Gresini also confirmed his riders would miss the end-of-season tests which follow on from the November 6 races.
Shattered: Marco's girlfriend Kate at the Fiumicino Airport in Rome as his body returns home
'The only certainty is that my team won't participate in the upcoming Valencia Grand Prix and in the tests programmed after the race,' Gresini told Corriere dello Sport.
'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.'
Hero: Fans laid flowers in Cattolica after the death of Mario Simoncelli
Rossi said: 'Marco was a star and I'll never forget him. 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.
Spanish rider Dani Pedrosa had a dispute with fellow factory Honda rider Simoncelli earlier this season, but news of his rival's death left last season's championship runner-up reeling.
Repsol Honda's Pedrosa said: 'In a tragedy like this there is not much to say. I just want to give my condolences to his family and all the people who love him.
Moment of horror: Simoncelli loses control on the second lap
Fall: Edwards spins off the track along with Simoncelli's bike as the 24-year-old Italian devastatingly lies motionless
'I've been with his father and all we could do was to hug, nothing else matters. It was a fatal accident and everybody in the paddock remains in shock.
'Many times we ourselves forget how dangerous this sport can be and when you lose people on the way nothing has any meaning. It's clear that we all do what we like, what we love, but on days like this nothing matters.'
Newly-crowned MotoGP champion Casey Stoner added: 'I'm so shocked and saddened by the loss of Marco. When things like this happen it reminds you how precious life is, it makes me feel sick inside.
'All I can say is how sorry I am for Marco's whole family. I can't imagine what they are all going through and our thoughts and wishes are with them at this time. I hope they all stay close and pull through this tragedy together.'
Speaking at a press conference following the tragedy, medical director Dr Michele Macchiagodena said of Simoncelli: 'Because of the crash he had during the race, in which he was hit by other riders, he suffered a very serious trauma to the head, to the neck and the chest.
Agony: Marco Simoncelli's father is comforted as he waits outside a medical centre where the rider was taken following a crash at the Malaysian Grand Prix
Sorrow: Honda team members (above and below) react to the sad news
'When our medical staff got to him he was unconscious. In the ambulance because there was a cardiac arrest they started CPR (cardiac pulmonary resuscitation).
'Immediately in the medical centre, with the help also of the doctor of our staff at the Clinica Mobile and local doctors, he was intubated and it was possible to take off some blood from the thorax.
'The CPR was continued for 45 minutes because we tried to help him for as long as we thought it was possible. Unfortunately it was not possible to help him and at 16:56 (local time) we had to declare he was dead.'
Simoncelli's compatriot and Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso said: 'I watched the images and I'm shocked: in a race you fight and push hard and disaster is often around the corner.
'Marco was a strong rider and he always pushed hard. We raced together since we were kids, I saw him always pushing to the maximum, he crashed many times, but without major injuries, he was seemed invincible. What happened today seems impossible.'
Simoncelli, who won the 250cc world championship in 2008, clinching the crown in Sepang, stepped up to MotoGP in 2010 and he finished eighth overall last season.
Losing control: Simoncelli (No 58) crashed on the second lap of the race, riding between Edwards and Valentino Rossi
Emergency: Race marshalls quickly arrive at the scene to assist the stricken Simoncelli
His death was the first fatality in MotoGP since Japan's Daijiro Katoh died from his injuries sustained at the 2003 Japanese Grand Prix.
When asked about Simoncelli's helmet coming off, race director Paul Butler said at the press conference: 'I think if I may reply, that will be for another occasion. Quite clearly the consequences and circumstances surrounding the accident will be thoroughly investigated.'
Tributes poured in for Simoncelli from both MotoGP and the wider world of motorsport.
Formula One driver Mark Webber wrote on Twitter: 'R.I.P Marco A special talent that will be missed... Thinking of your loved ones, and all the motogp paddock..mark."
Britain's Jenson Button wrote on his Twitter account: 'R.I.P Marco... Such an exciting talent lost. My thoughts are with his family, friends and everyone involved in MotoGP. Motorsport can be so cruel...'
Wheeled away: Track officials remove Simoncelli's motorcycle after the dreadful accident
British rider Cal Crutchlow added on Twitter: 'RIP Marco Simoncelli ! A great rider and all round nice guy. My thoughts are with all his family & friends.'
Cancelled: Rubbish covers the track after the race was abandoned early in Sepang
Delivering the news: MotoGp officials relay the tragic announcement
'An inconceivable death which has stunned Italian sport. For this reason we decided that all sport today should honor him with a minute's silence.'
A statement on the MotoGP official website read: 'On Sunday 23rd October, during the MotoGP race at the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit, San Carlo Honda Gresini's Italian rider Marco Simoncelli suffered a serious accident in which he received critical injuries.
'The race was stopped immediately with the red flag and Simoncelli was transported by ambulance to the circuit medical centre where the medical staff worked to resuscitate him.
'Despite their efforts, Marco sadly succumbed to his injuries at 4:56pm local time.
Support: Simoncelli's girlfriend Kate is consoled by a TV crew member following her partner's tragic crash
'Everybody involved in MotoGP extends its deepest condolences to Marco's family, friends and team at this tragic loss.'
Simoncelli, who won the 250cc world championship in 2008, clinching the crown in Sepang, stepped up to MotoGP in 2010.
A message on Simoncelli's Gresini Honda team website read simply 'CIAO "SUPER SIC"'.
The Rizla Suzuki team wrote: 'All at Rizla Suzuki are deeply affected by today's tragic events and send their deepest condolences to Marco's family and friends during this time of great loss.
'R.I.P Marco Simoncelli, 20 January 1987 - 23 October 2011 - A true competitor.'
Of the other riders involved, Edwards suffered a dislocated shoulder after being thrown from his bike, while Rossi managed to limp back to the pits.
Meanwhile, Rossi's mentor has denied the Italian great will be retiring from the sport in the wake of his Simoncelli's death.
Davide Brivio, Rossi's manager at former team Yamaha, responded to widespread internet rumours that the 32-year-old was too upset to carry on racing.
'Many are asking about Vale stopping races. This is absolutely not true and I'm sorry even that I have to explain it,' Brivio wrote on Twitter.
Tribute: A huge screen shows a picture of Simoncelli during a minute's silence at the Roma v Palermo at the Olympic stadium