Rome

Motorcycling: Anger, pain at Antonelli's death

Decision to run Moscow race in torrential rain blasted

Motorcycling: Anger, pain at Antonelli's death

(By Paul Virgo) Rome, July 22 - The death of Italian motorcyclist Andrea Antonelli at the Moscow Raceway on the opening lap of Sunday's World Supersport Championship race has been met by anger and pain in his homeland. Antonelli, a 25-year-old rider for Kawasaki Go Eleven team, lost control of his ZX-6R motorcycle on a slick track during torrential rain. He fell to the ground where he was struck by fellow Italian rider Lorenzo Zanetti. The Umbria native died from his injuries after emergency medical treatment. It was the latest in series of deaths to hit competitive motorcycling in recent years and the dynamics of the fatal accident recall that of another Italian, Marco Simoncelli, who was killed at the race in Malaysia in the premium class, MotoGP, in 2011. Many riders were furious that the race in Supersport Championship, which is a support class to the more prestigious Superbike World Championship, was held given the weather. "The track was not suitable for use and what happened makes me angry," said Italian rider Marco Melandri, who won the first of two scheduled races in the Superbike class in Moscow in Sunday before the day's competition was abandoned after Antonelli's death. "You can't change destiny but something more should have been done to prevent this. "In the last few laps of the Superbike race, you couldn't see anything and the bikes were impossible to manage. "The Supersport race should have been suspended while the situation was assessed. "I realise that there a lot of interest in racing in places like Russia, but we are humans and it's necessary to avoid risks". Former Superbike world champion Max Biaggi was not happy about the race being held at Moscow Raceway, following criticism of the drainage capacity of its asphalt. "I love this sport but I'm starting to hate it," said Biaggi, the now-retired 2010 and 2012 Superbike world champion. "This circuit should never have been approved. MotoGP would never race there. "I don't understand why what is no good for the premium class is accepted for Superbike. There shouldn't be second-tier riders". Organizers Dorma said there is nothing wrong with the Moscow Raceway's asphalt and said the level of the rainfall was not "dramatic" on Sunday. Italian consumers' association Codacons on Monday asked Rome prosecutors to open a probe into the accident. Antonelli died after registering the best performance of his career in qualifying to start fourth on the gird. An autopsy on the rider's body is likely to be held on Monday and the corpse should return to Italy within three days. "I couldn't tell him not to race because he was convinced he could get into the Superbike championship," Antonelli's father Arnaldo, who was watching the race in Moscow when his son died, told Rai television. "He knew he deserved better. That's what he was fighting for".

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