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Misano track to bear Simoncelli's name

updated 2:27 PM EDT, Fri November 4, 2011
Italian Marco Simoncelli was 24 when he was killed in a crash at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia.
Italian Marco Simoncelli was 24 when he was killed in a crash at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Misano World Circuit is to be renamed after Marco Simoncelli
  • MotoGP rider Simoncelli was killed in a crash in Malaysia earlier this month
  • Sunday's race in Valencia will be the first since Simoncelli's death

(CNN) -- Marco Simoncelli's local track is to renamed in his honor following the Italian MotoGP star's death in Malaysia last month.

The 24-year-old was born in Cattolica on the Adriatic Riviera, less than five miles from the Misano World Circuit, which will now bear his name.

The board of directors of the circuit voted unanimously for the change following the tragic accident at the Sepang International circuit on October 23 which claimed Simoncelli's life.

We are pleased and proud to associate the Misano circuit with Marco Simoncelli, a champion in sport and in life
Lucas Colaiacovo
Tributes pour in for Simoncelli

"We owe it to the memory of Sic (Simoncelli's nickname)," Lucas Colaiacovo, the circuit's vice president was quoted on its official website.

"We owe it to his family, to the hundreds of thousands of fans who admired his courage and humanity, all of the individuals in the sporting world and media who support this spontaneous and moving proposal.

"We are pleased and proud to associate the Misano circuit with Marco Simoncelli, a champion in sport and in life."

The circuit added that it would not use Simoncelli's name for any commercial activities.

Meanwhile, the MotoGP series has moved to the Spanish port city of Valencia for the first race since Simoncelli's fatal accident.

His San Carlo Honda Gresini team are taking part in the final round of the world championship in his honor, but it was newly-crowned champion Casey Stoner on his Repsol Honda who set the fastest lap in first practice Friday.

Suzuki's Alvaro Bautista led a wet second session with a time of one minute 47.975 secs, two seconds slower than Stoner's earlier benchmark.

It was marked by a series of crashes, one of them involving Simoncelli's former teammate Hiroshi Aoyama, but he escaped unhurt.

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