Italian motorcyclist Marco Simoncelli has been killed in a horrific crash at the Malaysian MotoGP in Sepang.
The Gresini Honda rider, Marco Simoncelli lost control of his bike on the second lap of the circuit in Sepang and appeared to be hit by Colin Edwards and then Valentino Rossi as he slid across the track.
The race was stopped on lap two when Marco Simoncelli‘s bike veered across the track at turn 11 into the path of Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi.
Marco Simoncelli, 24, had his helmet knocked off and was hit by both other riders.
American rider Colin Edwards also fell and dislocated his shoulder – while Marco Simoncelli’s fellow Italian, Valentino Rossi was able to return to the pits.
Marco Simoncelli lay motionless on the track after the impact, while the race was immediately red-flagged.
At first officials were looking to restart the race before the extent of Marco Simoncelli’s injuries became clear.
Eventually, the race was cancelled amid confusion in the grandstand, with fans throwing bottles to show their initial displeasure.
Marco Simoncelli’s death is the first fatality in MotoGP since Japan’s Daijiro Katoh died from injuries sustained at the 2003 Japanese GP while, last year, Japan’s Shoya Tomizawa died in a similar crash to Simoncelli in a Moto2 race in San Marino.
Marco Simoncelli’s death comes a week after British IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon was killed in Las Vegas following a crash.
According to officials, when the track medics got to Marco Simoncelli, he was in cardiac arrest. They tried to resuscitate him in the ambulance and the medical centre.
A MotoGP statement read: “On Sunday, 23 October, during the MotoGP race at the Sepang International Circuit, San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Italian rider Marco Simoncelli suffered a serious accident wherein he sustained critical injuries.
“The race was stopped immediately with the red flag and Simoncelli was transported by ambulance to the circuit medical centre where the medical staff worked to resuscitate him.
“Despite their efforts, Marco sadly succumbed to his injuries at 4:56 pm local time.
“Everybody involved in MotoGP extends its deepest condolences to Marco’s family, friends and team at this tragic loss.”
Sepang circuit chairman Mokhzani Mahathir added: “This is one-of-a-kind freak incident where the helmet came off and I am sure FIM [International Federation of Motorcycling] and MotoGP will be looking into this.”
Marco Simoncelli entered MotoGP for the 2010 season and won his first pole position at the Catalunya race in June this year.
His first podium finish came in the Czech Republic in August when he finished third but he bettered that with a second-place finish at the Australian GP.