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MotoGP star Simoncelli’s funeral set for Thursday

The funeral of deceased MotoGP star Marco Simoncelli has been set for Thursday in his home town of Coriano, Italian press reported Tuesday.

Simoncelli (24) died on Sunday after crashing during the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.

On Tuesday his body arrived back in Italy, landing at Rome’s Fiumicino airport.

It was then transferred to his home town in the Rimini province, where close friend and seven-time MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi also headed.

As of Wednesday a room will be opened for the rider’s fans to pay their respects.

The funeral at the Santa Maria church in Coriano will be a private affair for family, friends, other riders and his Gresini team.

Authorities have asked fans to stay off the roads, claiming the town will not be able to cope with the number of mourners expected to descend on Coriano.

Speaking to the La Gazzetta dello Sport, Simoncelli’s father Paolo expressed his gratitude for all the attention his son’s death has generated.

“I’m happy that you’re here because the hardest moment will be on Thursday night when everything’s finished and we’re left on our own,” he told journalists.

“Thank you to everyone and I’m not just saying that.

“To say that I’m delighted with the way the world has reacted would be stupid but we hadn’t realised how important Marco was to people.

“He was special, people understood he was honest. Marco was pure.” — AFP

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