MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli has died during the Malaysian Grand Prix.
The Italian was killed in the second lap of the race after his Honda bike slid across the track and was struck by two other riders. The race was immediately called off.
Simoncelli’s helmet was knocked off during the crash, and he was pronounced dead by the time he was taken to the circuit’s medical centre.
“Everybody involved in MotoGP extends its deepest condolences to Marco’s family, friends and team at this tragic loss,” MotoGP said in a statement.
Medical director Michele Macchiagodena said Simoncelli was already unconscious when medics reached him. “He was hit by other riders, he suffered a very serious trauma to the head, to the neck and the chest,” he said. “In the ambulance there was a cardiac arrest.”
Simoncelli’s death is the first in the sport’s premier class since another Honda rider, Daijiro Kato, was killed at the 2003 Japanese Grand Prix.