Marco Simoncelli may best be known for his hair, but the afro-fantastic rider is more than just a fuzzy mop top. The Italian has steadily worked through the Grand Prix ranks after winning a European 125 title in 2002. Simoncelli then excelled in his final two seasons in the 250 class – winning the title in 2008 and finishing third in 2009 with 12 career 250GP wins.
The 2009 season was a breakout year for Simoncelli as he confirmed a move into the premier MotoGP class for 2010. The upstart rider also made a memorable wild card appearance in World Superbike during ’09, piloting the Aprilia Racing RSV4 alongside Max Biaggi at Imola. Crashing out of the first race while running an impressive fifth, Simoncelli returned in Race 2 with a third-place finish to edge out Biaggi.
Simoncelli had his best MotoGP finish (2nd) at Phillip Island 2011, only one round before his fatal crash in Sepang.
In 2010 Simoncelli moved into MotoGP aboard the Honda RC212V. Throughout the 18-race season the Italian failed reaching the podium but came close on a few occasions. Simoncelli earned eighth overall in his rookie year, but his achievements were frequently overlooked due to the strong results of fellow rookie, Ben Spies.
After re-signing with San Carlo Gresini Honda in 2011, Super Sic went on to secure some of the best finishes of his career in MotoGP. Highlights included a third-place finish in the Czech Republic as well as a second-place finish in Australia. Sadly, the 24-year-old Italian lost his life during a Lap 2 crash in Malaysia on October 23, 2011.