MOTOGP has honoured the memory of Marco Simoncelli by retiring the late rider’s No 58 from the sport’s premier class. The popular Italian died as a result of a crash during the 2011 Malaysian MotoGP race. He was 24 years old.
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Ahead of this weekend’s San Marino Grand Prix, held at the Misano World Circuit named in Simoncelli’s honour, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta made the announcement alongside Simoncelli’s father Paolo.
“This number, from now, belongs to the Simoncelli family,” Ezpeleta said.
“We will not use it for anybody unless they decide somebody has the honour to use this number.”
THE NUMBERS RETIRED FROM USE IN MOTOGP
Simoncelli’s is the fifth number to be retired from active use in MotoGP.
The first was No 34 in honour of Kevin Schwantz following the 500cc star’s retirement from the sport in 1995. The number is still used in the lower classes of the sport, most notably by Andrea Dovizioso prior to his graduation to MotoGP.
Loris Capirossi’s No 65 has also been deactivated in honour of his career throughout all of MotoGP and support classes, whilst No 48 and No 74 have been retired in respect to the late Japanese racers Shoya Tomizawa and Daijiro Kato who died in racing crashes.
VALENTINO ROSSI: I DON’T WANT 46 RETIRED
The owner of arguably the most famous number in the sport, however, would like to see his digits used beyond the end of his career.
“My first impression is that I don’t like that the 46 is cancelled,” Rossi said.
“I prefer that it remain and if some other rider want to take that number he can. But it’s a problem that I hope is not for now.”