Marco Simoncelli: 58 Forever

58 images to remember Marco Simoncelli's short-lived but vivid career in MotoGP

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Ben Cope's picture
Submitted by Ben Cope on Fri, 19/10/2012 - 14:39

It's almost a year since we lost Marco Simoncelli at Sepang - his death shocked the world.

His full potential will always remain unrealised but - looking back at his career and rapid rise to the sharp-end of MotoGP - it's clear we were just starting to see what he was really capable of. Despite his loss, I feel that we were so lucky to witness such a fantastic talent, even if only briefly.

We've put together 58 images - in no particular order - to celebrate the life of the fun-loving, inspirational racer who was the reason millions were glued to their TV sets on a Sunday. He wore his heart on his sleeve, always gave ten-tenths and didn't seem to care about what you had done, just what you could do on the day.

Marco Simoncelli: 58 Forever.

Simoncelli in Malasia in 2009 in his 250 days. Shine on you crazy diamond.

Sliding at the Sachsenring in 2011. Simoncelli was brutally fast here and managed sixth in the race.

Simoncelli's helmet from a GP125 test in 2004. The lion stayed with him throughout his GP career.

Rossi and Simoncelli grew up close to each other and were great friends. This was taken at Qatar in 2010, Simoncelli's first race in the MotoGP class. He finished a respectable 11th.

In 2003, Simoncelli was already far too big for a 125, even at the tender age of 18.

On his way to third at the Czech GP in 2008. He always went well at Brno.

Simoncelli fans with hugely convincing wigs.

Bossing the Aprilia RSV4 Factory at Imola in 2009. His wildcard ride was a reward for winning the GP250 championship on a Gilera.

Estoril, 2011. Simoncelli crashed out in spectacular style. Had he stayed on, he was capable of running at race-winning pace.

Always smiling. Simoncelli at Phillip Island in 2008 in his GP250 days.

Good friends off the track but fighters on it. Simoncelli regularly finished above Valentino Rossi.

A picture I took of a mural in Riccione, just down the road from where Simoncelli grew up. Just to the left of shot was a blank white wall, crammed with hundreds of messages from SuperSic fans.

Simoncelli celebrates winning the GP250 championship at Sepang in 2008.

The heart of a lion and the mane to match. Ever the gent off track, he was a true fighter on it.

There goes his first win. He made the most of the tricky conditions at the second round of 2011 at Jerez but Simoncelli crashed out with a massive lead. The world was starting to realise his potential.

On the grid at Sepang in 2011 with girlfriend Kate Fretti in what was to be his final race.

Catch me if you can. Simoncelli gaps the world's best during the opening lap at Sachsenring in 2009.

If you're looking for Monster Energy, you've found the right man.

A great action shot of Marco doing what he was born to do.

French fans welcome Marco to the top flight of the MotoGP championship in 2010.

Mugello 2009. Simoncelli on his way to a hard-fought second place on his Gilera GP250.

Getting down to business. Simoncelli talks to his team during his first MotoGP test on the Honda RCV in 2009.

Congratulations! Simoncelli hugs Valentino Rossi after Rossi wraps up the MotoGP championship with a first place finish at Motegi in 2008.

Catalunya 2010. Elbow scraping.

Never shy of the camera, not afraid of controversy, Simoncelli always spoke his mind.

He finished third at Sepang in 2008 but it was enough to wrap up his first GP250 championship.

In the garage with father Paolo. Marco and Paulo were very close, Paulo was there to support Marco at every round throughout his career and after Marco's death, described his son as: 'Special, honest and pure'.

Simoncelli during practice for the German MotoGP at Sachsenring, he finished 6th there in 2010 and 2011.

There's the limit. Simoncelli crashes out of the San Marino MotoGP at Misano in 2009. Despite showing extraordinary turns of speed, he couldn't repeat his 2008 championship win and finished third overall.

Like a duck to water. Simoncelli during the official MotoGP test at Sepang in February 2010. He'd only ridden the bike a handful of times.

Bottoms up! Celebrating a GP250 win at the Czech GP in 2009.

Focused. Simoncelli keeps an eye on the timing screen in his garage at the Japanese MotoGP

Czech GP, Brno, 2011. His first podium in the MotoGP class. You can see just how much he enjoyed that!

A hand full of jokers. Simoncelli and Team Gresini play cards at the Portuguese MotoGP in 2010.

At the Valencia WSBK test in 2008. Father Paolo looks on.

Oops! Simoncelli takes out Jorge Lorenzo on the first lap at Assen in 2011. Both riders re-mounted and battled their way through the field, with Lorenzo finishing 6th and Simoncelli finishing 9th. There was little love lost between the champion and rising star.

Le Mans 2011. Simoncelli and RC212V in perfect harmony.

Stress? What stress? Marco takes it all in his stride at Imola during his WSBK wildcard on the Aprilia RSV4 Factory in 2009.

That pass at Le Mans. Did Simoncelli take Pedrosa out? Who knows, but his hard pass earned Dani a broken collarnone and Marco a ride-through penalty for an 'illegal passing manoeuvre'.

Easily the largest barnet in MotoGP, probably in Malaysia (where this shot was taken) and who knows, possibly the world?

Never giving up. Simoncelli runs to his bike after crashing out of the race at Misano in 2009.

Joking with a photographer in his garage in 2010.

Second place at Phillip Island, his highest ever MotoGP finish. After the race, Simoncelli texted one of his idols and best friends, Kevin Schwantz and said "Ah, Kevin, I didn't have the pace to go with Casey."

Huge commitment into the last right-hander at Misano in 2011. The circuit has now been renamed Marco Simoncelli circuit, in honour of the man who grew up just a few miles down the road.

Simoncelli and Lorenzo clash in the post-qualifying press conference in Estoril. Lorenzo accused Simoncelli of being dangerous and warned that if it carried on there would be 'a problem', to which Simoncelli replied: "Ok. I will be arrested!"

Happy with his lot. Simoncelli had to battle hard throughout his GP career to earn his place in the San Carlo Gresini Honda team. Clearly HRC top brass had him down as a future champion.

But even potential champions make mistakes and Simoncelli wasn't afraid of those. Here two marshalls ponder over Simoncelli's battered RCV at Sepang in pre-season testing.

That pass on Biaggi. Simoncelli stuffed it up the inside on the last corner of the last lap to get a third place finish, a podium at his first ever World Superbike round. That's some going.

'Welcome to the club; I've heard a lot about you'. Colin Edwards shakes hands with MotoGP's newest talent at the Qatar tests in 2010

Adored by his team, the fans and the entire paddock: Simoncelli celebrates his GP250 title.

MotoGP teams line-up on the grid to pay their respects to Simoncelli at Valencia, the round after Sepang where Simoncelli died and the last round of the 2011 season.

'So how's it going, Marco?' At the Portuguese MotoGP in 2010, Marco looks ultra-chilled.

His first podium at Brno in 2011. Simoncelli finished just 7.7 seconds off racer-winner Casey Stoner and more importantly, just over half a second ahead of Jorge Lorenzo.

Simoncelli shows the strain during the Italian GP at Mugello in 2011 where he finished fifth just 9-seconds from race winner Jorge Lorenzo and ahead of Mugello master, Valentino Rossi.

Leading the factory Honda. Simoncelli powers out of the last corner at Misano in 2011.

Closer than close: Marco and father Paolo celebrate after his first podium in MotoGP.

Keeping it lit! Simoncelli powers out of a fast right-hander at Sepang during a practice session.

Ciao Marco! Here he is on the grid at the Dutch MotoGP in 2010. His unique approach, limitless passion and fighting spirit will be sorely missed but his legacy will outlive us all.

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