Thousands Pay Final Respects To Marco Simoncelli At Moving Funeral

Marco Simoncelli was finally laid to rest on Thursday, amidst a massive crowd who had come to pay their last respects. The funeral was a packed affair, full of the friends and family of the Italian, as well as a large number of people from the world of motorcycle racing. The service, held in the Santa Maria Assunta church in the small town of Coriano, not far from the Misano circuit, started at 3pm and was led by the Bishop of Rimini, Francesco Lambiasi, when Simoncelli's coffin was carried in by friends and members of his San Carlo Gresini team. It ended a little over an hour afterwards, as Simoncelli was taken from the church, to the strains of Italian pop legend Vasco Rossi singing "Siamo solo noi". His body was taken to Cesena, where he is due to be cremated.

Massive crowds lined the streets of Coriano, and watched the funeral on large screens set up outside the church. Simoncelli's coffin was accompanied by mass applause on its journey to and from the church, and balloons with the words "SIC" and his racing number, 58, were also released in tribute as he passed. Inside the church, Simoncelli's coffin was flanked on either side by the Gilera 250 RSA on which he won the 250 World Championship in 2008, and the Honda RC212V which he raced this year in MotoGP, and on which he achieved two pole positions and two podiums this season.

In addition to Simoncelli's father Paolo, his mother Rosella, his sister Martina and his girlfriend Kate, there were many people from the world of motorcycle racing. Fausto Gresini and the Gresini team members played a prominent role in the proceedings, but Simoncelli's friends Valentino Rossi and Mattia Pasini were also present, charged with wheeling Simoncelli's race bikes in and out of the church, along with riders including Jorge Lorenzo, Toni Elias, Simone Corsi, Raffaele de Rosa, Andrea Iannone, Loris Capirossi, and Andrea Dovizioso, among others. Former riders included Giacomo Agostini, Manuel Poggiali and Sete Gibernau, while senior HRC staff included Shuhei Nakamoto and Livio Suppo. A large delegation from Ducati was also present, with Vittoriano Guareschi, Filippo Preziosi and Claudio Domencali also attending the funeral. Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta and FIM President Vito Ippolito were also at Simoncelli's funeral.

The service was marked most of all by the courage and humanity shown by Simoncelli's family. Paolo, Simoncelli's father, was both gracious and generous to everyone who attended, and at the end of the service, his girlfriend Kate spoke a few simple words, saying that Marco had been "a perfect person, and that such a perfect person cannot live among ordinary mortals."

The Italian federation has submitted a request to the FIM to have Simoncelli's number 58 retired from racing, just as has been done with Daijiro Kato's 74 and Shoya Tomizawa's 48 in Moto2. A petition has also been started to have the Misano Adriatico circuit named after Marco Simoncelli, but the president of the circuit said it was too soon to be making decisions about the matter. A previous proposal to rename the track after Renzo Pasolini, the former 250cc rider who was killed at Monza in the same accident as Jarno Saarinen, was also rejected. Daijiro Kato has the entrance road leading to the circuit named after him, the Japanese rider having lived in the region at the time of his death.

A video summary of Simoncelli's funeral is available and free to view on the website, and the entire funeral is also available on Youtube, uploaded by a fan.

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My God what a terribe loss. And the poise and grace his dad has shown. What a man. Now I know where Marco got it from...
God bless you Marco, and your brave father and mother. You were a great rider and an ever better person.
May you rest in peace young man. You will be sorely missed. 

What i believe would be a moving tribute at Valencia (and before they retire his number) is for every rider on the grid to be # 58.. Each perhaps in the distinctive graphics that they usually use for their own number but for this race all # 58. Of course the record books record the results with the riders proper number. Pit board communication uses the riders proper number but the symbolic gesture of a grid of 58's would be powerful i think and a beautiful send off.

Everytime I see an RIP or any word associated with death and Marco in the same sentance, it all comes careening back to me and I feel sick to my stomach. It just seems like a bad joke, or a bad dream we all need to wake up from...

I remember at Laguna Seca last year, Marco was one of the most popular riders. Everyone wanted his autograph. And I never saw him turn anyone away, he talked to everyone who spoke to him and even let people touch his hair!
When he was signing autographs at the fence in the paddock I saw his father standing a bit of a ways behind him, leaning on an empty rack and he had the proudest look on his face I have ever seen from a father watching his son....

Please, I would like to share the photos I took of him last year at Laguna Seca. You may do with them as you please...

Can anyone tell me if Dani , Casey , Nicky , Bautista , etc where there or not . I can understand Colin not being there but what about the rest of the Moto GP family . To me it would be a bit upsetting if the whole family of Moto GP was not there

It is a misconception to regard MotoGP as a family. All these men are fierce rivals, despite their friendships, brought together by their desire to compete. A better analogy is colleagues rather than family: not everyone shares the same closeness, and not everyone feels it would be appropriate to be present at what is an intensely personal moment for the family of the dead man. There were seven of the seventeen MotoGP riders present, consisting mainly of the Italian riders, with the notable exception of Jorge Lorenzo, offering an olive branch to the parents of the man he criticized earlier in the year.

Though in the minds of many fans, the romantic idea of the MotoGP family persists, it is not an accurate representation of the facts. These are all extremely competitive people, and though they all respect each other deeply, that is not the same as being friends.

You are right David, they are not all friends or a family. But I think that being a rival shouldn't prevent you to pay a tribute to someone if you feel like (if you don't feel like then of course you can rightly stay at home).

Andrea Dovizioso was a fierce rival of #58 but he was there. So didi JLo with a much appreciated gesture.

There is more than one way to pay tribute to a fallen colleague. And there is more than one reason not to attend a funeral.