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GP Week : Issue 139
Moto GP news >> SON of an ice-cream manufacturer on the Rimini coast, Marco Simoncelli was blossoming into a potential giant of MotoGP – figuratively as well as literally, for he was by far the biggest rider on the grid. He achieved his first real prominence when he won an ebullient 250cc championship in 2008. With his big Jimi Hendrix hairstyle and a big personality to match, he was clearly star material. But it had taken years of hard racing to get there. Born in Cattolica on January 20, 1987, Simoncelli first race a minimotos at the age of nine, in the very active pre-teen races on the coastal go-kart tracks – the same place Rossi started. He finished second in the championship, and won it in 1999 and 2000. Over the next two years he won the Italian 125 title and then European title before making his GP debut in 2002. The first of two 125 wins came in 2004; he would win 14 more in the 250 class, and one championship. His move to MotoGP in 2010 saw a difficult start though he finished eighth overall. In his second year Simoncelli joined the front runners. He led at Jerez, but crashed in the wet; and took a first pole position at Assen. Then he claimed the first of two podiums with third at Brno this year, and his second with second place in Australia a week before his death. – M ichael Scott VALE: Marco Simoncelli A glittering career cut short 2008 World Champions – left to right, di Meglio (125cc), Rossi (MotoGP) amd Simoncelli (250cc) 9