MotoGP safety representative Franco Uncini says Marco Simoncelli's death was 'unpreventable'
|By Michele Lostia and Matt Beer||Monday, October 24th 2011, 11:43 GMT|
MotoGP riders' safety representative Franco Uncini does not feel there are any safety changes that can be made to prevent accidents such as the one that killed Marco Simoncelli in the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Simoncelli suffered fatal head, neck and chest injuries when he crashed on lap two at Sepang and slid into the path of Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi. The race was abandoned.
Uncini, who was left in a coma after a similar crash in the 1983 Dutch TT during his own racing career, said the tragedy appeared to be unpreventable.
"I think we've done plenty for safety, and we are very satisfied," Uncini told RAI Radio.
"Unfortunately in our hands we don't have the power to change fate: when it comes, there's nothing we can do. We must accept what comes defencelessly, nothing else can be done.
"There was an abundance of safety there, the circuit is perfectly inside the limits of safety as per our requests.
"What happened was a crash like many others, the only problem is that the bikes were close to one another, so two other riders arrived and hit Marco's head and neck. That's what made the crash so dramatic."
Uncini paid tribute to Simoncelli, saying he had made an important contribution to the MotoGP safety commission.
"On top of being an exceptional rider, he was an exceptional character, funny, friendly, and intelligent too," he said.
"He was also part of the safety commission. When we'd meet on Fridays, with Valentino, himself, Loris Capirossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa, he was always very intelligent by always saying very sensible and important things.
"He was very constructive, not destructive, and very good professionally. He cared a lot for the safety aspect and he was always present at these meetings. The last time was last Friday, before the grand prix."
Carmelo Ezpeleta, head of MotoGP's commercial rights-holder Dorna, said the death of Simoncelli had left him speechless.
"I usually have an answer to all your questions, but this time I really am lost for words," Ezpeleta told Gazzetta dello Sport.
"I saw him on Saturday night in the hotel, he was playing cards and we shared a laugh. You are left speechless. You're on the grid, you see these guys, and ten minutes later you're dead. It's terrible. All the riders are in pieces."
Uncini added that the series finale at Valencia in a fortnight would be dominated by memories of Simoncelli.
"The Valencia race will be a time of mourning," he said. "It will be impossible to forget a character like Marco, especially in such a short time.
"Honestly I can't even imagine what the Valencia race will be like. It'll be painful to go there and spend the weekend there. We'll see."