Paolo Simoncelli has paid his respects to a "special, honest and pure son" and expressed his gratitude at the outpouring of grief following Marco Simoncelli's fatal accident in the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Speaking to Italian media, Paolo Simoncelli said the support shown in the wake of the accident had provided comfort, and insisted there was no blame to be apportioned.
"Marco was a very special person, and perhaps people have understood what he was like. If he had to swear he would, he was like that. Most of all he was honest, he was really pure," said Simoncelli Sr. "On top of that he was a warrior, and maybe that's why he died. Had he let the bike go...but last Sunday he wanted to win. He was again the Marco we had at the beginning of the season, but now he knew what to do, he knew everything.
Greeted by hundreds of fans when he landed in Rome with his son's body, Paolo said: "Honestly I couldn't believe it: it would be BS if I said I'm happy, but it pleases me. We didn't realize all this, but it's a very nice thing.
"Tomorrow evening, after the end of the funeral, we'll be alone. It'll be terrible. But now I have you and all the people who come visit us. That can only please us.
"Marco was always available with all the journalists, as with all the people who would come to disturb him while he was eating. In fact he would scold me when I complained. That's how he was.
"Marco was never judged badly, he was always judged for what he was and for the way he presented himself. I loved him and he loved me. Marco was great and that's it. What a shame.
"He needed everything around him to work. He needed Aligi Deganello – his guru and chief technician – his team, and his dad, who would piss him off sometimes, as he would say. Before the start we would shake hands and hug. I did that on Sunday, too, but I guess I got something wrong. It didn't go as usual.
"He enjoyed all the simple things he had: he liked his house, his dog, the grass...in fact, on Sunday he told me, 'I'm tired, I want to go back home,' because we had been away to prepare for Malaysia, which for him has always been difficult: nutrition, he took an ice bath to cool down before the race... It was perfect, he was sure he would do well. But he told me 'I want to go back home, Dad.'"
Paolo arrived at the scene of the crash as Marco was being lifted onto a stretcher and carried to the ambulance. He says he had called to his son, but Marco was already dead. He says he also bears no ill will to the bearers, who fumbled the stretcher on their way to the ambulance.
"I was thereabouts, but Marco was dead already. I was 10 meters away, but Marco was already dead, it changed nothing. I helped them: when they got back up and passed the stretcher over to my side of the guardrail I took the stretcher to place it in the ambulance and held Marco's hand and called him, 'Ciao Marco,' but he was gone already.
"There was nothing that could be done. Nothing would have changed in that case. As for the rest, maybe more (attention) is needed, but these people try to do their best, so it's useless... But in our case Marco died on impact.
"They say God summons the best to heaven. I don't know. I wish that's how it is."
Paolo said Marco's funeral would almost certainly be held this Thursday, as a private function for relatives, friends, fellow riders and Gresini Racing staff.