Andrea Antonelli death casts shadow over World Superbike race in Moscow
Tragedy struck yesterday's World Superbike round in Moscow as Italian rider Andrea Antonelli died following a crash during a World Supersport race.
In wet and rainy conditions, 25-year-old Antonelli lost control of his Team Goeleven Kawasaki bike on the first lap and his head collided with the Honda of countryman Lorenzo Zanetti, who was going at at 250km per hour in a collision that also saw Zanetti unseated.
Antonelli was immediately transported to the course medical centre but, given the seriousness of his injuries, it was decided not to risk helicopter transport to the nearest hospital and he died after failing to regain consciousness.
The Supersport race was stopped and postponed for an afternoon restart before being cancelled indefinitely. The second World Superbike event was also cancelled after Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Goldbet) had won the morning's race from Chaz Davies.
Ulster's Jonathan Rea finished fourth on his Honda while Eugene Laverty crashed his Aprilia.
Toome rider Laverty commented: "I didn't finish the race, but I'll continue to fight another day. Andrea Antonelli sadly won't have the same opportunity."
WSB organisers said in a statement: "During today's FIM World Supersport race, at 1.32pm Italian rider Andrea Antonelli (Team Goeleven Kawasaki) suffered a serious accident on the straight between Turn 14 and Turn 15 wherein he sustained critical injuries.
"The race was stopped with the red flag and the rider was immediately taken to an ambulance where the medical staff worked to resuscitate him.
"Despite their efforts, Andrea sadly succumbed to his injuries at 2.10pm local time. FIM, Dorna and YMS Promotion decided to cancel all activities for the day.
"Everyone involved in motorcycle championships extend deepest condolences to Andrea's family, friends, team and the Italian Federation at this tragic loss."
The Castiglione di Lago rider, who achieved 14 podium finishes in European Superstock 600 and 1000 races, had started from second on the grid in Moscow.
Antonelli becomes the second Italian to die in competition in two years after MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli was killed during the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang.
One of the doctors to work on Antonelli following his accident, Dr Massimo Corbascio, believes there was "absolutely nothing" the emergency clinic's team could do to revive him.
"Zanetti was going 250km per hour and was not able to avoid him. If a rider is hit in the skull by a bike that weighs 160kg at 250km, what can you do?
"He has gone to keep Marco Simoncelli company. We tried to revive Andrea immediately, but there was absolutely nothing we could do."
* IN the Irish championship short circuit meeting at a hot Bishopscourt, David Haire raced to a treble taking a double in the Supersport class and winning the first Superbike race, losing out in Race 2 to Cody Nally, the runner-up in race one, by 1.8seconds.
Haire currently lies in third position in both Superbike and Supersport championships.