Alvaro Bautista Column, Malaysia: In Valencia we’ll ride for you, Marco
AS has published Álvaro Bautista’s latest column today, following the fatal crash of long-time rival Marco Simoncelli at the Malaysian Grand Prix last weekend. Bautista wrote an open letter to Marco and, as he tweeted prior to the publication, it was by far the most difficult column he ever had to write.
Below you find the complete translation.
Dear Marco: I don’t know how to begin, it is difficult to say anything after such a tough weekend for the followers of motorcycle racing. Everything that’s happened in Sepang, the thrilling 125cc race with Nico Terol very close to claiming the title, the absence of Marc Marquez in Moto2 and leaving the championship for Bradl to take, the injuries of other riders who I wish a speedy recovery, the good feeling I had in practice and then in the race I could have ended up with a good result… Everything was overshadowed by your accident.
Your passion. You and I know that there is a a lot of risk in this sport and that, fortunately, safety is getting better. But sometimes things like this happen and it’s really when people realize that this is not a game and we play with our lives here. I will not tell you how those moments were in the paddock when we heard the news, because I think we’ve already cried and suffered a lot. I think we should remember you as someone who died doing what he loved, what all the riders love the most. Riding a bike.
Direct rival. I had the opportunity to be one of your rivals in the 250cc class, where we had many fights. You’ve always been a very controversial rider on the track, going very close to the limit and sometimes over it, but always giving a show, giving the spectators reasons to fall in love with racing. And if you were peculiar on the track, off it you couldn’t go unnoticed; with that hair like Jimi Hendrix, with that lax style of walking, that peculiar voice speaking an Italian funny to listen to.
Championship leader. 2008 was your great year, you spent two seasons in the 250cc class without getting a single podium, but that year changed everything, you started to get on the rostrum regularly, winning races and like it wasn’t a big deal you took over the lead in the championship with a good advantage. We had many fights in the races, with touches and off-track excursions. At the end you won the championship, at the same Sepang International Circuit. The following year we even spent some time at Race Direction now and then to review controversial actions, do you remember? Honestly, my relationship with you off the track changed and we hardly exchanged a word. But this year everything was different. Unfortunately or fortunately because of the situation in Japan, the riders had many meetings and this made us more united, we returned to a good relationship like we had before. You know you’ve been a great rider who was always on the limit, always enjoying what you were doing, always giving your best, always fighting. Even in your last lap on the circuit, when again I was with you, you did not stop fighting, it has always been difficult to pass you, you never let anyone twist your arm and always resisted or stayed inside or outside the racing line to avoid losing your position. On that last lap we passed each other six times in just two corners. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I know you did too, as we always did in a fight like this one.
In the paddock. Then, the circuit that had given you your best moment in life took it away from you. At the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) you left us. How strange will it be to walk through the paddock not seeing you… But your memory will always be with us, we will never forget you and you will be sorely missed. But I am convinced that wherever you are, you will also follow us.
To your loved ones. I’m about to say goodbye, because I have a lot inside, but it is very difficult to write it down in these moments. I want to send your family, your girlfriend Kate, your friends, mechanics, the people on your team and your fans my most sincere and heartfelt condolences. And I tell you that at the next race in Valencia everyone who goes to the track, which will surely be many, will go there for you. In your memory. We will race for you. We dedicate this to you. Because you’ll always be in our hearts.