And so they watched. Almost 6000 miles away in some far off place called Malaysia. As far away from their collective generational motorcycle culture as the 35-degree heat and humidity was from the pleasant temperatures back home. The carnage of carbon fibre shrapnel and splayed sand and bewildered men in orange coloured work suits were all a part of a moment where everyone, the world over, was holding their breath.
In Italy men looked neither right nor left. All across Europe, in the US, in Australia, and in far flung places where the sun never sets on racing, they were all transfixed on the TV, trying to come to terms with what they were seeing.
And meanwhile, 24-year-old Italian, Marco Simoncelli, who was so full of life, and who was so admire by fans and peers alike, lay face down on damp asphalt. The life was knocked out of him. The Italian, the one who, perhaps, pushed things a bit too far in the heat of his chosen profession was gone.
Like Icarus before he flew too close to the sun, he refused to listen to those older and wiser that him and operated on his primal intuitions and desires. He pushed the limits. More than anything, he wanted to do it his way. To go as high as he could on his own constitution and in his own inimitable style.
To say that one dies while doing what he loves surmounts to nothing is a travesty. He raced because he had a natural and innate gift to do so. He lived a fabulous life in which any man the world over could only dream of. But it came with extraordinary dedication, determination and a will to conquer his adversaries in whatever he undertook. Was he good enough to win? The only way he answered that question was to line up on the starting grid and find out. It's certainly not an easy way to live one's life. Live by the sword and die by the sword.
And so it was, stretched out in an ambulance half a world away from his homeland, a dedicated brotherhood of physicians tried to breathe life back into his body. The world held its breath and waited...
And then he passed.
Newspapers, magazines, websites and social media over the globe committed themselves to telling his tale in any way, shape and form imaginable. People would remember the great racer from these words, images and videos; forever preserved.
His funeral was broadcast all globally; his life will live on in the memories of others. And so the men moved on. Looking onto the next race. But it would never be the same. For they had the memories of #58 and the man that it stood for.