A cold and blustery September day in Cumbria may be instantly forgettable in normal circumstances, but it was in Penrith - or more specifically in a disused section of airfield in Penrith, and under a sheet of hazy rain - that I met Marco Simoncelli.
My brother, having worked in MotoGP for the past two seasons, had given me a few pointers if I needed to break the ice, but I never had the cause to use them. Simoncelli came across exactly as he had on television - warm, entertaining, charismatic and open, happy to talk and to answer questions.
A disclaimer: I had been a Simoncelli fan, but I won't exaggerate and say he was one of my heroes - at least not before I met him. Still, he had been making waves in MotoGP and was often the centre of attention, whether due to his on-track performances - carrying the fight to the established big guns - or his off-track exuberance, and I had been excited to meet him.
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