Italian rider Marco Simoncelli died after suffering serious head, neck and chest injuries in a crash at yesterday’s Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix. He was 24.
Simoncelli, of the Gresini Honda team, was involved in a crash on the second lap, sliding in front of two riders who then collided with him. He lost his helmet in the accident. He was taken to the Sepang International Circuit medical center, where he died at 4:56 p.m. local time, MotoGP said in a statement on its website. The race was then canceled.
“Marco was a strong rider and he always pushed hard,” Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso said in a statement. “We raced together since we were kids. I saw him always pushing to the maximum, he crashed many times, but without major injuries. He seemed invincible. What happened today seems impossible.”
Paul Butler, race director, said the sport would look at why Simoncelli’s helmet came off, and why the accident occurred. American Colin Edward dislocated his shoulder in the crash.
Simoncelli was in his second season in MotoGP, graduating from the 250cc circuit, which he won in 2008 and finished third in 2009. He had two podiums this season, finishing second last weekend in Australia and third in the Czech Republic in August, and was sixth in the overall standings.
Simoncelli’s death is the second in racing in the past seven days. Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon was killed in a 15-car crash at last weekend’s Indy Car race in Las Vegas.