Until his podium finish at Brno's Czech Grand Prix, Marco Simoncelli was in danger of making headlines for all the wrong reasons in 2011.
The Italian was involved in a series of on-track - and off-track - altercations with his fellow MotoGP riders, a sequence that reached its nadir at Le Mans when he made contact with Dani Pedrosa and caused the Spaniard to crash and break his collarbone.
Simoncelli received widespread condemnation and was handed a ride-through penalty, while also being summoned to the stewards' office. Even Valentino Rossi, one of Simoncelli's closest friends both in and out of the paddock, said the Italian was 'too hard this time'.
What was clear even during his spell of incidents, however, was that Simoncelli was arriving on the big stage - inevitably is his own way and his own style. Whether his riding sometimes transgressed the boundaries of what we might call acceptable, he was mixing it with the big boys, and taking no prisoners along the way.
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