|Birthdate||January 20, 1987|
|Current team||Metis Gilera|
|Championships||250cc - 2008|
|Last position||1st (281 pts)|
Marco Simoncelli (born 20 January 1987 in Cattolica) is an Italian Grand Prix motorcycle road racer. A top rider of the Italian Minimoto Championship from 1996 to 2000, Marco Simoncelli moved to 125cc bikes after taking two consecutive titles in the aforementioned discipline. After a promising first season in the 125 Honda Trophy, Simoncelli took the European 125cc title in 2002 and had a first taste of Grand Prix racing the same year.
In 2003 he undertook his first full season in the World Championship with the Matteoni Racing team. A consistent point-scorer in his rookie season, he moved to the Rauch Bravo team in 2004 and scored his first Grand Prix win at a rain-soaked Jerez, but could only manage an 11th placed finish overall.
Another 125cc campaign in 2005, with the Nocable.it Race team, was completed with an improvement in the final standings in 5th place, giving Simoncelli the opportunity to leap into the quarter-litre category. A steady season saw the Italian achieve 10th position in the championship representing Metis Gilera, with whom he continued in 2007 and now 2008.
In 2008 Simoncelli achieved his first race victories in the 250cc class, his maiden triumph coming at his home race in Mugello, and was involved in some breathtaking battles with his rivals over the course of the year. Emerging as the standout rider in the class, Gilera provided their newest star with a top-of-the-range RSA machine for the final races of the season.
The Italian secured his fifth win of the year at Phillip Island early in October and clinched the title with third place at Malaysia at the penultimate round of the year. He currently rides a Gilera in the 250cc World Championship, and has previously raced in the 125cc class. He has five race wins in the 250cc class, and two in the 125cc class.
He won European 125cc title in 2002, also making 6 appearances in the 125cc World Championship. In the following year, he moved to the World Championship full-time. His best result was a fourth place in the season finale at the Valencia Grand Prix.
In 2004, he took his first victory in wet weather in the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez. This was only highlight of his season, and he ended in 11th place in the final standings. In 2005 he won at Jerez again, this time in dry conditions. This result and five other podium finishes helped him to come fifth overall.
Move to 250cc
In 2006 he was the only front-runner to move to the 250cc class, riding for Gilera, which marked their return to the class. His first season was good although not brilliant. In most races he finished between 7th and 10th place. His best result was 6th place in the Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai. He fought for the "Rookie of the Year" title until the end, finally losing to Shuhei Aoyama by seven points. In final standings he was 10th.
In 2007 he continued with the same team. His season was similar to previous one and he was again 10th in the final standings, without a podium finish.
He had his first 250cc win at the Italian GP held at Mugello on 1 June 2008 in controversial circumstances when, with one lap to go, he leaned to the left on the long straight, possibly to block off Hector Barbera. Barbera then crashed into him and Simoncelli won the race by 3 seconds. Barbera was lucky to emerge unscathed. Some people called for sanctions but Simoncelli escaped without penalty: on 7 June he received a verbal warning from the MotoGP Riders Safety Commission.
On 8 June 2008 he followed up his Italian victory at the Grand Prix de Catalunya after overtaking Alvaro Bautista on the last lap after the Spanish pilot ran wide with 5 corners of the race left. Simoncelli obtained his third 250cc GP victory at the Sachsenring in the Gran Prix Deutchland on 13 July 2008 when he beat Alvaro Bautista and Hector Barbera by approximately 2.5 seconds. He also won in his class at the 2008 Australian motorcycle Grand Prix held on 3-5 October 2008. He narrowly defeated Alvaro Bautista.
On 19 October 2008 he clinched the 2008 250cc World Championship after finishing 3rd in the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.