CIV Mugello, 21.-23.10.2011


When the sad news of Marco Simoncelli’s tragic accident in Malaysia spread across Italy his big fan Miroslav Popov was just preparing for his last race of the CIV Italian motorbike championship. “This was a very sad day but at the same time the Mugello race was the best way to honour the memory of Marco. I know that he would have wanted us to race,” said the shattered Mira after the race in which he finished a good fourth.

Soon afterwards he packed and like all the teams and riders left the circuit and went home. No accompanying event, no celebrations on the podium. Nothing like that happened. The motorbike world was wrapped in sorrow. Marco Simoncelli was one of them and at that moment no one could quite take it in that this talented and charismatic rider would not show his mastery any more.

“We are all extremely sorry about it because there are people in the team who knew him well and worked with him frequently. Marco was my idol, my ideal. Both for his approach to sport and life. I was not lucky enough to meet him personally although I wanted to very much. But he knew I was his fan, he sent me his poster with a dedication. I will always keep it with me.”
At the beginning of the racing weekend Popov was trying to find his way around. He set his best time of 2´06.729 seconds in Friday’s practice sessions which put him in p11 in the competition of twenty-nine riders. He finished seventh in Saturday’s first qualifying and improved quite well in the afternoon of the same day improving his Friday’s best time by four and a half seconds which put him on the second row of the starting grid for the 125GP class.

After starting from p5 Popov did not have a good first lap and fell to p7. But he was already back to p4 by the approach to the second lap and kept this position until the finish. The two race leaders Romano Fenati and Niccoló Antonelli had a fierce battle during the six lap race. It was Antonelli who won and claimed this year’s Italian Champion title.

Miroslav Popov finished fifth in the CIV 2011 overall standings. But the season has not yet finished for him as he will now take part in the last two races of the CEV Spanish motorbike series where he drew attention this year by his second position in the race at the Circuit Catalunya.