We hope that you are keeping the party lit up there. I can just imagine you now, with even longer, curly hair, carrying out a practical joke or telling a funny story. I bet you’ve made some amazing friends in the sky, mixing with your flatmates who also got there too soon, as well as the ones who have turned up over your five-year occupancy. You, Luis and Shoya, to name all but a few. What a night out.
It’s 5 years today since we parted company. You fought until the very end, but not even you could prevent the final chapter this time. I often reminisce over the 3rd lap of your final race. At first, unusually, I thought it was Hiroshi, your teammate and former rival back in the 250cc class. However, I soon realised that it was you, lying there, with your head down against the sun-baked, Malaysian asphalt. It was strange because I was more impressed with Valentino’s save than anything else, because in the back of my mind, I never considered that you would never be able to race or breathe again.
I wonder if you know how much of an impact you had on MotoGP? You took Gilera to their last world title in Grand Prix, as well as becoming the last Italian to win a championship in the intermediate class. You have a track named after you, and now your dad has entered a Moto3 team for next season. Oh, yes, Moto3. We moved from 2-stroke 125cc bikes to 4-stroke 250cc machines as the lightweight class now. They sound like a swarm of wasps but they provide racing that is so like your style. Arms and knees everywhere, pushing through at every chance. You’d be so proud.
I wonder what you would be doing sometimes, in scenarios during races but also what you’d say to some of the controversial situations that MotoGP has found itself involved in. I want to know how many race wins, poles, fastest laps and championships you’d have to your name by now. I want to know if number 58 on the bike would have changed to number 1 on the bike, or even, if you’d have changed manufacturers, and how many great battles you’d have won.
I wonder if you stay up late, watching over the season reviews at the end of every year. Just like me; desperate to stick on the DVD which condenses over 7 months of racing down to just 4 hours of drama. I wonder if you have gatherings, going out with your pals upstairs on pocket bikes, or maybe even visit some nice monuments if your age has got the better of you.
I wonder if you are reading this. Because I hope that somehow you are. I wanted to say that we miss you very, very much. If we could see you back on the grid, we would adore you (not that we didn’t anyway). We would do absolutely anything to get you to sign one more t-shirt, or even take one more ‘selfie’, that you may or may not have heard of. It is the Australian Grand Prix today; the last event MotoGP would see your flamboyancy and style on the podium. Whatever you do, try and watch it. Make sure your mates are around too, don’t be too selfish now.
We will meet again one day Marco, but for now, its Ciao. We miss you.
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Kiko Giles @MotoGPKiko