Andrea Dovizioso, a life-long racing rival of fellow Italian Marco Simoncelli, has announced that he will ride with Simoncelli's #58 'close to his heart' in this weekend's Valencia MotoGP season finale.
“I'm very sad for the loss of Marco," said Dovizioso. "I'm going to Valencia not in the right frame of mind for a race. I will wear Marco's number 58 on the chest of my leathers, close to my heart, this is the only thing that counts.
"I have raced with Marco throughout my whole career, he was 'the rival' and now that he is no longer with us, he has left a big void and I want to convert this feeling of emptiness to determination."
Dovizioso, who attended Simoncelli's funeral last week, will start Valencia - his last race for Honda - third in the championship, but just four points ahead of Repsol team-mate Dani Pedrosa.
"I hope to get a good result at Valencia mainly because it is important for me to finish third in the Championship but I know the race will be difficult as it is not one of my favourite circuits and Dani is very strong there," he said.
"Also, the GP of Valencia is my last race with Honda and I really would like to crown these ten years together with a good final race".
Dovizioso will join Tech 3 Yamaha for the 2012 season.