Marco Simoncelli was laid to rest in his home town of Coriano in Italy on Thursday afternoon, during a funeral ceremony attended by the MotoGP star's family, friends and rivals - and watched by thousands of fans on large screens outside the church.

The popular 24-year-old lost his life in last Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang, just one week after claiming his best ever MotoGP result of second place.

Simoncelli, the 2008 250cc world champion, was nearing the end of his second season in the premier-class, and had signed to remain a factory-backed Honda Gresini rider for 2012.

'Super Sic' died after losing the front of his motorcycle and sliding across into the unavoidable path of Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi.

Rossi, a close friend of Simoncelli, joined numerous Italian grand prix stars - including Giacomo Agostini, Loris Capirossi, Andrea Dovizioso and Mattia Pasini - plus Jorge Lorenzo, Randy de Puniet and Toni Elias in attending the funeral.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport 2010 MotoGP champion Lorenzo signed the book of remembrance with the words "I'll always remember you. Forgive me for having argued with you."

Rossi signed simply "I miss you" while lifelong rival Dovizioso wrote "You were so strong and always pushed me to go faster."

Also present were members of the Gresini team - including principal Fausto Gresini and Simoncelli's team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama - plus 1999 500cc champion Alex Criville, reigning WSS champion Chaz Davies, HRC's Shuhei Nakamoto and Livio Suppo, Ducati's Claudio Domenicali, Filippo Preziosi and Vittoriano Guareschi, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, FIM president Vito Ippolito and Dr Claudio Costa of the Clinica Mobile.

Simoncelli's helmet was placed on top of his coffin, alongside a bouquet of flowers, during the ceremony, while his 250cc Gilera and Honda RC212V stood either side.

Most of the mourners, including Simoncelli's family and girlfriend, wore casual clothes and a choir sang some of Simoncelli's favourite songs.

Thousands of fans watched the ceremony on large TV screens set-up outside the church and the ceremony included a round of applause in Marco's memory. Many of the mourners were wearing 'Ciao Marco' t-shirts or clothing bearing his #58.

Music by pop star Vasco Rossi was played as Simoncelli's coffin was carried by team members and placed outside the church where family, riders and fans joined together in a round of applause.

Valentino Rossi had helped wheel Simoncelli's RCV outside the church after the ceremony.

Simoncelli's father and sister sat amongst the team members by the side of the coffin. Young minimoto riders, dressed in race leathers, sat on the other side.

Girlfriend Kate and Dr Costa then paid their own emotional tributes to Simoncelli, which were broadcast to the listening crowd via a microphone.

The music restarted as Simoncelli's coffin was carried to a waiting hearse and driven through the crowd-lined streets to further applause and shouts of 'Ciao Marco'.

As they have done since Sunday's tragic accident, Simoncelli's family maintained a dignified composure throughout, moving amongst the mourners to thank as many as possible.