Two years ago today, October 23rd, 250cc world champion Marco Simoncelli's tragically lost his life in the Malaysian MotoGP race.
The following was written on the day of his funeral. 'Ciao Marco'...
Marco Simoncelli: 1987-2011
MotoGP star Marco Simoncelli has been laid to rest in his hometown of Coriano, in Rimini, Italy, after losing his life on lap two of last Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.
Fast, fearless and unforgiving on the racetrack, Simoncelli was a racer in the purest sense of the word. Rock-star hair and a smiling 'gentle-giant' personality completed the image of a timeless motorsport maverick.
His manager Carlo Pernat described Simoncelli as "a rider from a bygone era" and the 24-year-old sadly joins many of those from an earlier time who paid the ultimate price for pursuing their motorsport dreams.
One glance at Simoncelli indicated he didn't live an ordinary life and the exciting Italian made a close connection with fans around the world, defying those who believe popularity is directly proportional to results.
Simoncelli was yet to win in MotoGP, but looked set to one-day inherit close friend Valentino Rossi's role as the sport's most recognisable and perhaps most popular character, especially as his developing English improved.
On track, Simoncelli's heart-on-a-sleeve riding style often grated with the clinical precision and tactical approach rewarded by the easy-to-upset 800cc bikes.
Simoncelli preferred to attack each corner like he was trying to go faster than ever before and battled furiously for every position. Nothing was given away and every chance taken. It was a warrior mentality that those who dream of racing motorcycles like to believe they would possess.
The downside was too many accidents and Simoncelli had numerous run-ins with Race Direction, most recently after his controversial clash with Dani Pedrosa
at Le Mans in May.