Italy’s Marco Simoncelli is dead.
Simoncelli succumbed to injuries sustained in a horrific accident during the Malaysian MotoGP at the Sepang International Circuit today.
On the second lap four minutes into the race, Simoncelli lost control of his Honda bike which veered across the track and straight into the path of fellow competitors Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi.
Simoncelli, 24, who had his helmet knocked off in the crash, lay motionless on the track. American Edwards also fell but escaped without serious injury, while former multi-world champion Rossi was able to return to the pits on his Ducati.
The race was immediately halted and was later cancelled when the extent of Simoncelli’s injuries become apparent, Simoncelli was rushed by ambulance to the circuit’s medical centre but at 16:56 local time it was announced he had died from his injuries.
Simoncelli was in fourth place when the accident occurred on lap two.
A message on the MotoGP website read: “Marco Simoncelli succumbed to injuries sustained in Malaysia.”
Newly-crowned champion Casey Stoner admitted immediately after the crash he had feared the worse.
“As soon as I saw the footage it just makes you sick inside,” the Australian told BBC2.
“Whenever the helmet comes off, that’s not a good sign.”
Simoncelli, who won the 250cc world championship in 2008, clinching the crown in Sepang, stepped up to MotoGP in 2010.