View Full Version : Rider Profile ~ Marco Simoncelli

09-12-2010, 09:05 PM


Marco Simoncelli stands out in a crowd. The 2008 250cc world champion stands 183 cms tall, but it’s the wild hair that brings to mind the late rock star Jimi Hendrix that has become his signature feature. That and seemingly endless tenacity, ferocity, and determination to race a motorcycle. “Sic,” as he’s known, (SIC is how his name is abbreviated on the timing monitors) will again have to stand tall on the San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V as he joins close friend Valentino Rossi and a host of others in the pinnacle of road racing in 2010.

The 22-year-old Italian splashed onto the racing scene by finishing second as a nine-year-old in the Italian Minimoto Championship, a stepping stone that many Italian riders have taken to the World Championships. Even then Simoncelli stood out, the preternaturally tall rider all knees and elbows on the tiny machines. His size was never an impediment and he concluded his apprenticeship in the series by beginning an extraordinary run of four titles in a row.

He followed up the 1999 and 2000 Italian Minimoto Championships by riding a Honda RS125 to victory in the Italian 125 Championship. Expanding his reach, Simoncelli then won the European 125 Championship on an Aprilia. He also prepared for a full assault on the 125 World Championship by racing in six GPs.

The 2003 season would be his first full year in MotoGP. But it was the 2004 season where his talent would begin to shine. Simoncelli swept to the pole position and his first GP win in the second race of the season. Inconsistency plagued the rest of his year and he finished 11th. The next year he again started strong, winning the season-opener in Spain, and carded five more podiums. Though not a consistent championship threat, his aggression and occasional brilliance earned him a seat on the Metis Gilera factory 250 team in 2006.

Having outgrown 125’s, he was a more natural fit on the larger 250. His rookie season of 2006 was a mixture of promise and frustration. Of the races he finished, all but one netted top ten results. But he also had four non-finishes. He had a nearly identical 2007 season; all but one top ten results, though now five non-points paying finishes. Certainly there was nothing in the season to suggest what was to come.

A newfound maturity, and machine help towards the end of the season, turned his career around, but not before a rocky start. Simoncelli failed to finish the first two races, then went on a tear. He followed a second in Portugal with a fourth in China, then second in France before a popular breakthrough win in his home grand prix at Mugello. Winning became contagious and he stopped crashing. He won again in the next race in Catalunya and over the next three races was never off the podium, including his third win in Germany. Gilera equipped him with a more powerful RSA machine for the final push. He put it to good use. Simoncelli cemented the crown by winning three of the final four races, and clinched the title with a third in the penultimate round in Malaysia.

The defense of his world championship was less than successful as he was again victimized by his own inconsistency. The season again started badly-no points in the first two races-then came podiums in every race he finished but one, including a class leading six wins. But there were also a further three DNF’s, including one in the final race of the season while in the lead. Well before then it had been announced that he’d be moving to the senior class with the San Carlo Honda Gresini team The Gresini Honda team is known for nurturing young talent-Marco Melandri, who rejoins the team in 2010, finished second in his first year with the team-and the all-Italian squad is the perfect fit for Simoncelli to make a smooth transition to a rough class. .

Simoncelli, who still lives in his hometown of Cattolica, just down the road from Misano Adriatico, credits his parents’ sacrifices for his success. Though aggressive on the bike, the Italian is playful and humble away from the track. He prefers beer over wine, the country over the city, passion over reason, and listening over speaking.

04-01-2012, 08:58 PM
Just came across this earlier. WHo'd have thought his career would be over so soon!!?? cry.gif