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Simoncelli sticks with 58 for title defence

Simoncelli sticks with 58 for title defence

250cc World Champion will not run number 1 plate in 2009

Marco Simoncelli´s similarity to friend and fellow 2008 World Champion Valentino Rossi does not just extend to his recent form and penchant for elaborate coiffeurs, with the Italian further following in his mentor´s footsteps with regards to racing number tradition. Simoncelli has elected against exercising his right as 250cc titlist to running the number 1 plate, choosing instead to stick with number 58.

The Metis Gilera rider had intended to switch to the prestigious number after announcing his stay in the quarter-litre class, stating that it would be a particular honour for the manufacturer of his title-winning bike in their upcoming centenary year. A change of heart sees Simoncelli sticking to his roots, although the number 1 is sure to be present in some form on his RSA.

Simoncelli´s decision means that no rider in either of the three World Championship classes will use number 1 in 2009. Rossi will keep using 46, whilst 125cc World Champion Mike di Meglio moves up to 250cc and is thus ineligible to run the figure.

The only precedent for such a situation in the modern era is the 2004 season, in which Rossi was the reigning MotoGP titlist, Manuel Poggiali had retained number 54 for his defence of the 250cc crown, and Dani Pedrosa had left 125cc behind for a successful year in 250cc.

250cc, 2008, Marco Simoncelli

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