This saturday makes ten years that Marco Simoncelli’s died, during the 2011 MotoGP Malaysia GP. Valentino Rossi was, in addition to being a “mentor”, a strong friend of the eternal #58, and felt particularly strong emotions with his passing.
Il Dottore reacted to the event in front of the press: ‘It’s been ten years… I feel like it’s been ten years, because it was a long time ago. I will forever remember the moment after the Malaysia race – one of the worst in my life when I returned to my office and was with Uccio and Max in Sepang right after the race. I was desperate; it’s one of those moments where you don’t know what to do to try to keep going. It was an unforgettable feeling, unfortunately’.
Rossi then stressed that for him it was a particularly personal loss from a human point of view: ‘Then it was worse, because we lost a great rider who could certainly have a great career and great fights with the current riders, but I also lost a good friend because I shared a lot of time together with Marco – especially in the last few years, from 2006 to 2011 – and there was a big empty space’.
‘I always say that Marco Simoncelli was the first rider of the Academy’ – Valentino Rossi
Marco Simoncelli was the first rider that Valentino Rossi supported on the road to MotoGP over a decade ago. The example of the #58, who made it to the premier class and seemed on his way to a successful career when he tragically passed away in 2011, then inspired the creation of the VR46 Riders Academy, which currently helps and promotes young Italian talent.
In a press conference Rossi confessed that he always remembers his late compatriot with the current VR46 Riders Academy riders, which turns out to be one of Simoncelli’s legacies
I always say that Marco was the first rider of the Academy, even though the Academy didn’t exist. But with Marco we started to help other riders with the training and the support and my experience. And when I see the riders now, and the Academy now, I always remember Marco.