CRT, team changes, 1000cc testing and world title run-ins seemed highly important last week. It turns out that they really aren't.
The Malaysian Grand Prix really takes it out of those in MotoGP, with its place towards the end of the calendar and role as part of three flyaway races - often on consecutive weekends. There is an air of tension between travellers, inevitable after three weeks living in each others' pockets, whilst those with family back in Europe or in the United States are ready to hop on the next plane back to see their loved ones.
The accident which took Simoncelli's life began as a typical opening-lap fall, and escalated through a cruel twist. How many times have we seen the Number 58 Honda lose grip early on in a race, and the lanky, stooped figure of a dejected Italian emerge unscathed, frustrated at a premature exit from a contest that he could perhaps have won?
Falls are inevitable when you push to the limit on a bike. We saw it from him at the start of his 250cc career, and things suddenly clicked there in 2008 (for most of the season on the second string Gilera LE). There were signs that he had finally made the step up in MotoGP this season - or at least made the leap to become an inevitable part of the battle for podiums and pole positions.
Maybe he would never have been in contention for the premier class title with the same style that took him to the big league. Maybe it was only a question of time before he mounted a serious championship challenge. Speculation is normally a fun aside, but on this occasion it would be far more preferable to see the reality of the young rider's full development as the seasons went by: the potential duels for victory with Valentino Rossi, the quest for that elusive first MotoGP win...there was so much left to see. Twenty-four is no age to be taken from this world, even for a participant in an inevitably dangerous sport.
Marco loved to ride, and enjoyed himself on track and around the paddock. He wasn't a Senna-esque philosophical thinker, nor a master of the witty riposte. His 'gimmick' was simple: "This is me; love me or hate me. And I'm going to go fast regardless."
It was a style that brought him a lot of success, and a growing fanbase reflected in merchandise sales and spectators attending races in tribute afro wigs. That had people saying "the racing has been dull, we need more characters ... like Simoncelli!" And it also ruffled some feathers.
I always found Marco to be a likeable, friendly guy, based on dealings with him in the pit garage, admittedly in either broken English (him) or broken Italian (me). In 2007, we waited to record a 'get well soon' message for his injured team-mate, Roberto Locatelli - the kind of message that would have been infinitely easier to send out to Marco himself right now, rather than one of condolence.
Sometimes he drew scorn from other riders, but almost exclusively for overtaking moves on-track. In Valentino Rossi he had a friend and mentor, whilst others consider him to have been a tough, fast rider and raceday foe. Disagreements stemmed from his defence of his way of riding.
Simoncelli's finest moment was perhaps the race in which he finally clinched the 250cc title - as fate would have it in Sepang just three years ago. A victory lap with no helmet on (inadvisable, and resulting in a hefty fine), followed by an enthusiastic acceptance speech about the emotions of the moment, the intense heat and the potency of the celebration champagne. Loveable, a little silly and confirmation that this was a top racer.
Happier times at Sepang. Happier times which will still live on in the memory, despite ever more graphic images of his final moments being released by newspapers and burning themselves into the mind's eye.
We've lost a character as big as the giant Simoncelli photo that adorns the pillars of Gresini's hospitality unit and we've lost a real talent. Team Gresini have lost another one of their extended family in MotoGP far too soon after the death of Daijiro Kato. Marco's parents - present at Sepang as they were for almost every race - and family have lost a son and a brother.
MotoGP is in mourning. Ciao SuperSic.