Simoncelli died, aged 24, after an accident at the Malaysian MotoGP in 2011 but his legacy lives on throughout the paddock and beyond.

His father Paolo, remembering his son 12 years after his death, wonders what history Simoncelli might have created.

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"Sometimes I imagine Marco grown up, as a more mature rider, but I can't,” Paolo told Men On Wheels.

“He was like that and probably would have remained a boy all the time.”

Valentino Rossi, whose VR46 Academy was inspired by Simoncelli, raced for 20 seasons in MotoGP, winning seven titles. Aleix Espargaro, ahead of his 13th full season in the premier class, has admitted he doesn’t have “the strength” to continue as long as Rossi.

How long would Simoncelli have raced for?

"He would have been 36 and if I think about it, I don't know if Marco would have asked himself the same question,” Paolo said. 

“With that passion he had, with that only interest that was racing motorcycles and that's it, maybe he would have gone far beyond Valentino Rossi. 

“Maybe we would have kicked his ass to get him off the bikes, already with white hair, at 50 years old!

"Marco had never wanted anything else. It's a well-known story and we've told it a thousand times, he just wanted to ride a motorcycle. He was very small and already he said that one day he would become world champion.

"If I look into the eyes of a driver, any rider who races in any category, I see Marco.

“The passion, the drive, the impulse unites everyone. Then every driver is unique and so no, there is no heir. 

“In today's MotoGP everyone has something of Marco, whether in the way they ride or in a physical characteristic or even in a type of approach with the press and the fans. 

“So no, I won't make a name, and I don't even know if the right word to use is 'legacy', I can only tell you that I see Marco in everyone and I see him, above all, in the eyes of the riders, in those looks behind the visors that cannot even be described.”