Marco Simoncelli - 2008 250cc World Champion2008-10-19 04:22
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.
This season Simoncelli has taken his first race victories in the 250cc class, his maiden triumph coming at his home race in Mugello, and been involved in some breathtaking battles with his rivals over the course of the year. A reduction in the number of crashes has led to him becoming a standout rider in the class, with Gilera also having 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.
Some facts about Simoncelli's achievement
He is the seventh youngest rider of all-time to win the 250cc world title.
He is the first rider to take the 250cc world title onboard Gilera machinery.
This is the 22nd world title for Italian riders in the 250cc class.
He is the first rider since Dieter Braun in 1973 to win the 250cc title after not scoring points in either of the first two races of the year.
Marco Simoncelli is the first rider to have won the 250cc title after trailing the rider leading the championship by as many as 49 points.
Date of birth: 20/01/1987 (21 years)
Place of birth: Cattolica (Italy)
First Grand Prix: CZE - 2002 (125cc)
First Pole Position: SPA - 2004 (125cc)
First Podium: SPA - 2004 (125cc)
First GP Victory: SPA - 2004 (125cc)
Grand Prix Starts: 98 (48 in 250cc)
Grand Prix Victories: 7 (5 in 250cc)
Podiums: 18 (11 in 250cc)
Pole Positions: 9 (6 in 250cc)
Race Fastest Laps: 5 (4 in 250cc)
World Championship Wins: 1 - 250cc 2008
2008 Total Points: 256
*data correct at 19/10/2008
(Malaysian Grand Prix)
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