25 Oct 2011

Former champion mourns loss of talented rider

1:43 pm on 25 October 2011

The former world champion Wayne Gardner says MotoGP has lost its next superstar with the death of Italy's Marco Simoncelli.

The 24-year-old Simoncelli was killed when he lost control of his Honda on lap two of the Malaysian MotoGP and came off in the path of Colin Edwards and compatriot and close friend Valentino Rossi who could not avoid him.

Simoncelli had his helmet knocked off in the collision, which left him face down and motionless on the asphalt.

He suffered very serious trauma to the head, neck and the chest and later went into cardiac arrest.

Seven-time world champion Rossi, who was uninjured in the crash while Edwards suffered a dislocated shoulder, was devastated and unable to say anything in the immediate aftermath of the accident.

Gardner, the 1987 world champion and still heavily involved in the sport, says as well as Simoncelli being a future champion, he was a 'top bloke' and great ambassador for the sport.

The death left the motor sport world reeling, coming on the same day as IndyCar star Dan Wheldon's funeral service after his death in a 15-car crash in Las Vegas last week.

Australia's newly-crowned world champion Casey Stoner says he feared the worst after seeing the crash of Simoncelli, who was tipped to replace seven-time world champion Rossi as the sport's poster boy.