Photo : Nicolas COUSSEAU - ACO/Nikon
He was the new enfant terrible of the young Italian bikers. Following in the footsteps of Valentino Rossi, Marco Simoncelli had the same charisma and stature, and the same fun loving mischievous nature, his helmet hiding a mop of curly blonde hair.
It was n 2002, at the age of fifteen, that Simoncelli started in Grand Prix riding an Aprilia in the 125 class. It was a rough debut for this raw talent who was undoubtedly destined to shine. It was two seasons before he won his first Grand Prix in Spain in 2004. The 2005 season started with another victory in Spain and he went on to a gain a total of six podiums that year and win his ticket to the 250 class. There followed another erratic two seasons, during which he went from Aprilia to Gilera for whom he subsequently took the World title in 2008 with six strong wins. He had six victories again in 2009 - including a Le Mans - but it did not allow him to retain his title.
Despite this he still progressed to MotoGP in 2010 with Honda providing a factory motorcycle run by the Gresini team for whom he was still racing this year.
His first season in the premier class was brilliant but it was in this 2011 season that "Sic" really shone, winning two pole positions and two podiums. Alas, the Malaysian Grand Prix last Sunday ended the career of this lively, engaging and very promising young man,
Marco Simoncelli was 24.
Marco Simoncelli race record
Photo : LE MANS, In homage to the deceased rider, the Italian flag was furled over the podium of the Le Mans circuit all this week.