The San Marino GP one year ago is not one that will be forgotten soon, with one of the most emotionally charged victories in the history of motorsport.
Rewind to 15th September 2019, and see the faces of Paolo Simoncelli and the SIC58 Squadra Corse in pure jubilation as Tatsuki Suzuki crossed the finish line in first place – a maiden win which honoured Marco Simoncelli’s memory in the best possible way, occurring at his home venue.
In a race riddled with crashes, splits in the pack and evident fights in both the leading group and chasing pack, only 16 of the 31 riders finished. A hectic start saw four riders down on the first lap alone, and a last-lap tangle meant John McPhee could move up the ranks to second and battle it out for the Misano victory.
But Japanese rider Suzuki produced a faultless race and defended his position into the Cairo hairpin, turning his first ever pole into a holeshot on the Sunday. A profound moment in World Championship motorcycle racing, Tatsuki Suzuki achieved his ambition of taking Paolo Simoncelli to the podium.
“Dear Marco, one day I will reach the podium with your dad. Please look at us from the sky.” – Tatsuki Suzuki, 2017.
After losing his son in 2011 at the young age of 24, Paolo Simoncelli found comfort in two wheels, and filled the void by creating the Sic58 Squadra Corse, bringing up young riders and spreading the Simoncelli values. That’s what made last year at Misano so much more than just another event on the MotoGP calendar, and even more than a maiden victory too.
When the chequered flag was drawn, Suzuki’s result had spoken volumes, representing the legacy of the sorely missed Super Sic and dedicating a victory to him in the most perfect place, particularly in front of his father, Paolo.
“It was a truly pained victory. This suffering kills your heart. What can I say, those last two laps were incredible and he was a great champion in keeping in front, never giving up.
Finding the right words isn’t easy in moments like this. Marco could have stayed a little longer because we all would have had fun together. I hope fate exists, since I’d like to hug him again.” – Paolo Simoncelli, 2019.