- The motorsport community is in mourning after death of Marco Simoncelli
- Simoncelli lost his life after a fatal crash in Malaysia on Sunday
- MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi has described Simoncelli as like a brother
The motorsport community was in mourning on Monday as competitors from across various racing disciplines paid tribute to Marco Simoncelli, the Italian MotoGP rider who lost his life after a crash in Malaysia on Sunday.
Simoncelli, 24, sustained critical injuries when he was struck by compatriot Valentino Rossi and American Colin Edwards after losing control of his Honda bike and sliding across Turn 11 of the Sepang Circuit.
Rossi, a seven-time MotoGP world champion, used the @ValeYellow46 Twitter account to pay tribute to Simoncelli, who he described as "a younger brother."
"Sic [Simoncelli's nickname] for me was like a youngest brother. So strong on track and so sweet in the normal life. I will miss him a lot," read the Tweet.
Honda president and CEO Takanobu Ito praised Simoncelli's commitment and personality, while expressing the team's gratitude for the results he achieved during two seasons with the Japanese outfit.
"Marco Simoncelli was a passionate rider bubbling over with a challenging spirit and blessed with a cheerful personality," Ito said on Honda's official website.
"With a promising future on the Grand Prix circuit, Marco had both genuine ability and a large following among racing fans.
"We are very thankful for his sterling results riding for Honda Racing Corporation as a factory rider. We express our heartfelt condolences to Marco's family."
Last year's title winner Jorge Lorenzo missed the race due to surgery on his finger, but the Yamaha rider also paid tribute to Simoncelli -- who was sixth in the 2011 MotoGP standings at the time of his death.
"I don't know what to say on a day like today," Lorenzo said via his official Twitter account. "Only that you will be missed - rest in peace Marco."
Another former world champion to pay his respects to the Cattolica-born star was 2006 winner and current Ducati rider Nicky Hayden.
"Sometimes life just don't make sense," said the American. "RIP #58 you were a star on & off track we all going to miss you."
Spaniard Jorge Martinez is a former rider and current owner of the Aspar Racing Team. The 49-year-old expressed his sadness, while also stating there was nothing Rossi or Edwards could have done to avoid the collision.
"Marco lost the front end and attempted to save the crash, but unfortunately the inertia of the bike took him onto the inside of the corner just when Edwards and Valentino were passing," Martinez told the sport's official website.
"There was nothing that they could do to avoid him. Today is a tremendously sad day for the entire paddock and for those who love motorcycle racing."
Outside of MotoGP, drivers from other motorsport disciplines also passed on their condolences to Simoncelli's family and friends.
"My thoughts are with his family, friends and team at this extremely sad time. Another tragic loss at such an early age," Tweeted 2008 Formula One world champion and McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton's teammate and 2009 champion Jenson Button also used Twitter to pass on his sympathies.
"R.I.P Marco ... Such an exciting talent lost. My thoughts are with his family, friends and everyone involved in MotoGP," said the British driver, before later adding, "Sometimes motorsport can be so cruel."
Simoncelli's death came a week after British IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon lost his life during a fatal multi-car crash at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The president and CEO of the venue Jeff Belskus praised Simoncelli as a racer who was loved among motorsport fans.
"We are deeply saddened at the passing of Marco Simoncelli," said Belskus in a statement. "He was one of the most charismatic figures in the world championship and had a fantastic future ahead of him in MotoGP.
"Marco was one of the most popular riders at the MotoGP event at Indianapolis, as his talent on the motorcycle and his ability to connect with fans both were very special. We extend our sincere sympathies to his family, team and fans."