MotoGP has confirmed that the no. 58 made famous by Marco Simoncelli during his career has been retired from racing.
Simoncelli died at the age of 24 after an accident during the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang in 2011, the penultimate race of his second season in MotoGP.
Simoncelli was also inducted into the MotoGP hall of fame in 2014, his name also being incorporated into that of the Misano World Circuit in Italy in tribute two years earlier.
Ahead of this weekend’s San Marino Grand Prix at Misano, CEO of MotoGP rights holder Dorna Carmelo Ezpeleta confirmed that the decision had been taken to retire Simoncelli’s iconic no. 58 from racing.
“We talked about the idea to retire the no. 58 for the grid of MotoGP for the future. This is what we are doing today,” Ezpeleta said in a small ceremony ahead of the race weekend with Simoncelli’s father, Paolo (pictured above).
“This number from now belongs to the Simoncelli family. Then we will not use for nobody, unless they decided someone has the honor to use this number.”
Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.
Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it would seem right for Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — to spend some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.