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GP Week : Issue 36
#5 – Marco Simoncelli – 250cc > MOTOINSIGHT > HE’S not in the big class, and he’s only won one championship. But it’s hard not to see the rangy and characterful new 250 champion as a star on the rise. Tall and rangy, with big hair and an even bigger voice, 21- year-old Simoncelli is also a rider who clearly loves racing hard, and is very good at it. His background is not especially distinguished by favour, apart from a friendship with Rossi that extends to motocross training together in the off- season. Simoncelli didn’t even get the latest full factory Aprilia (rebadged Gilera for his team) until the 10th of what turned out to be only 16 rounds, with Indy rained off after he’d qualified on pole. By then he’d already shown himself the strongest rider on the Italian machines, having equalled pre-season title favourite Alvaro Bautista’s two wins so far, and out-pointed him with six rostrum finishes to the Spaniard’s four. The pair raced often and hard, with the often rather scary of Hector Barbera frequently in a mix that laid on some of the old-time religion on their real-racer 250s. They might have done the same on the forthcoming 600cc replacements, but never with such finesse. The lion-maned Italian won six times, and will spend another year in the classic class. Then he is earmarked for MotoGP. And that should be fun. 53