Date: Sunday, November 06, 2011
Race Position: DNF
Valentino Rossi’s Marco Simoncelli tribute helmet (Valencia 2011):
Valentino Rossi wore a special helmet design as a tribute to Marco Simoncelli for the closing race of the 2011 MotoGP season. Two weeks earlier at Sepang, Marco Simoncelli tragically lost his life after losing control of his San Carlo Gresini Honda RC212V machine on lap 2, before being struck by Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi.
Rossi was close friends with Simoncelli, and the incident shook up the entire racing world. Many wonderful tribute’s to Simoncelli were present at the final race, and Valentino Rossi unveiled a sombre helmet design that blended Simoncelli’s helmet design with his own.
The helmet featured Simoncelli’s distinctive red and white stripes at the front, which eventually blended in and gave way to Rossi’s ‘Elements’ design at the rear. The helmet also features Simoncelli’s number 58 placed at the front, just above the visor.
The actual race was another that Rossi will want to forget – Rossi suffered his third consecutive DNF when Alvaro Bautista crashed at turn 1 and took out Rossi, Hayden, and De Puniet (all Ducati riders).
Valentino Rossi said:
“I really like the helmet a lot. I talked with Aldo (Drudi) and told him I wanted to make a really nice tribute to Sic. The most important thing of Marco’s helmet were the two red stripes and we didn’t really want to make an exact copy of his design. That’s one that only he could use. So we chose away of combining the two helmets and it came out very nice. It has a very important meaning and it has a great emotion for me.”
Valentino also talked about how it felt to be back racing so soon after Marco Simoncelli’s death:
“It was a difficult week and a difficult moment for sure from Sunday in Sepang. I tried to stay as much as possible with Paolo and all the family of Marco that are very good friends of mine. Also his mother and sister and the feeling in Italy was unbelievable but also great for Marco because a lot of people remember him from the whole part of Italy and demonstrated that many people followed and liked a lot what Marco did on and off the track. I think it is not very important but also great for his family. Also in a bad moment like this the atmosphere was great with a lot of people wanting to say Ciao to Marco. It is good to be here in Valencia and it is a strange feeling for everybody. But I think it is the best way to remember Marco.”
Valentino Rossi’s Marco Simoncelli Tribute Helmet (video)
Image Gallery of Valentino Rossi’s Simoncelli tribute helmet (click to enlarge):