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"We will always remember you, Simoncelli 58"

Spanish riders offer tributes to Italian MotoGP racer killed in Malaysia

The death of Italian rider Marco Simoncelli during this weekend's Malaysian MotoGP resulted in an outpouring of tributes from the world of motorcycling on Sunday. Among the first riders to express their sadness after the announcement was Spain's Jorge Lorenzo. "I don't know what to say about a day like that," the Yamaha rider wrote on Twitter. "I only know that we will miss you. Rest in peace Marco."

Another Spaniard, Dani Pedrosa, also expressed his emotion. "When something like this happens, there is nothing to say," said the Honda rider. "Everything else isn't important; these are things that shouldn't happen but this is sport and sometimes we forget the danger of this sport. Simoncelli was brave, very brave."

"It's incredible how life changes in a few seconds," said Aleix Espargaró. "We will always remember you Simoncelli 58 [his bike number]. It's hard, very hard; it makes you rethink many things."

Before the tragedy, a crash involving Axel Pons (Pons HP 40) had also curtailed the Moto2 race and denied Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing) the win he needed to seal the championship. The German was running second behind Swiss rider Thomas Lüthi when the race was red-flagged with three laps remaining, leaving Spanish rider Marc Márquez, who had been unfit to compete following a crash during practice on the Sepang circuit, with a slim chance of taking the title in the last race in Valencia.