Thousands pay respects at Simoncelli's funeral

October 27, 2011 - 10:55 AM
Italy MotoGP Simoncelli Funeral

The coffin with the body of late MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli is carried to Santa Maria church during his funeral service in his hometown of Coriano, Italy, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011. Italian sport was in shock after Marco Simoncelli died following a crash at the Malaysian MotoGP motorcycle race. He was 24. Simoncelli - nicknamed Sic or SuperSic - died of chest, head and neck injuries Sunday after he lost control of his Honda at turn 11 four minutes into the race, and swerved across the track, straight into the path of American rider Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi of Italy. (AP Photo/Marco Vasini)

CORIANO, Italy (AP) — Thousands of fans have filled the streets of an Italian town to pay their respects to MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli.

His funeral is Thursday at the Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Coriano, Italy. The 24-year-old Simoncelli died Sunday after a crash at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Alongside Simoncelli's coffin are two motorcycles — one that he rode to win the 250cc championship in 2008 and another used this season.

Seven-time world champion Valentino Rossi is set to ride Simoncelli's motorcycle out at the end of the service as a tribute to his friend. Simoncelli lost control on the first lap and swerved across the track, straight into the path of American rider Colin Edwards and Rossi.

Simoncelli's funeral is being broadcast live on screens outside the church, various Italian TV stations and at the nearby Misano Adriatico circuit.