Remembrance room for Marco
Rome - A remembrance room has been opened in Coriano in the Rimini region of Italy to allow mourners to pay tribute to MotoGP star Marco Simoncelli, who died in a motorbike crash on Sunday.
Around 5 000 people braved pouring rain to pay their respects to the 24-year-old in the first five hours of the room being opened, Italian news agency Ansa reported.
It was due to close at 22:00 local time but will be re-opened again for a couple of hours on Thursday morning.
Simoncelli will be buried in his home town of Coriano on Thursday at 15:00 local time, with the service being covered live on Italian television.
Local authorities have asked mourners not to come to the town, which they believe would not be able to cope with the volume of people expected.
Instead, well-wishers have been invited to head to the nearby Misano race-track to watch proceedings on two giant screens that will be set up there.
Amongst the mourners on Wednesday was fellow MotoGP rider Marco Melandri.
"I've come to say goodbye to Marco, to say goodbye to a friend," he said.
Simoncelli's close friend and seven-time world champion, Valentino Rossi, will sit alongside the deceased's family at the funeral service, Italian media reports.
Simoncelli died on Sunday after crashing during the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.