MotoGP champions Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi do not think anything could have been done to prevent Marco Simoncelli's fatal accident in the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Simoncelli died from injuries suffered when he veered into the path of Rossi and Colin Edwards during a crash on lap two at Sepang. Amid suggestions that a quirk of the Bridgestone tire's characteristics caught Simoncelli out and caused his bike's unusual trajectory in the crash, Stoner insisted that the incident was just a tragic one-off and not tire-related.
"We do have different lean angles now and the tires pick up grip a little quicker, but I don't think that had anything to do with it," said Stoner. "It just couldn't be avoided. He was just trying to stay in the race and these accidents can happen, as we've seen in history.
"I think it's just unfortunate – he just got too deep into it. He was trying to save it and stay in the race. Different situations have different consequences."
Rossi suggested that Simoncelli's height and riding style could have been factors in how the bike moved up the track on its side.
"Marco was very big – a lot bigger than all the other riders – and he very much used his body to ride the bike and to battle with the other guys," Rossi explained. "In this case he was trying not to crash, trying not to go out of the race, and using his body to try and not fall off; his body became like a third tire and, unfortunately, the bike didn't crash and came back on the track. He was unlucky.
"We worked on safety very much in the last years, but these kind of incidents remain the most dangerous, especially on the first lap when a lot of bikes are very close together and an incident like this can finish badly."
Stoner added that Simoncelli's death had given him a chance to reflect at length on his life and MotoGP career.
"It brings a few things to light that I think a lot of people in this paddock forget too quickly," said the recently crowned champion. "It shows how precious life is and how lucky we are to be doing what we're doing. But also just the dangers that are in our sport. It brings a new light and new respect for every time you go on track now."