Italian Rider Dies After Crash at Moscow Raceway

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Italian superbikes rider Andrea Antonelli died Sunday after a crash in torrential rain at the Moscow Raceway, police told RIA Novosti.

MOSCOW, July 21 (R-Sport) - Italian superbikes rider Andrea Antonelli died Sunday after a crash in torrential rain at the Moscow Raceway, police told RIA Novosti.

Antonelli, a 25-year-old rider from Brescia with lengthy racing experience, fell on the opening lap of the second race of the day at the circuit and was hit by another rider's bike.

"The motorcycle of a rider following the Italian hit him from behind," Superbike World Championship medical director Ruggiero Mattioli said on the Russian event promoters' website.

"He was struck at the base of the skull. First aid was given immediately, after which Andrea was quickly moved to an ambulance, where he was intubated. Unfortunately, all these measures were unsuccessful."

Mattioli said that Antonelli died just under 40 minutes after the incident occured.

Footage of the incident posted online shows that the race took place in extremely wet conditions with plumes of spray causing near-zero visibility.

Antonelli rode a Kawasaki bike for Team Goeleven in the World Supersport category, a support series for the main Superbike World Championship. He made his debut in international bike racing in 2005.

He is the first rider to die at a superbike event since Britain's Craig Jones suffered fatal head injuries in a crash at the Brands Hatch circuit in 2008. Antonelli is the first person to die at an event at Moscow Raceway.

The rest of Sunday's race program was cancelled.

In the first Superbike World Championship race, Marco Melandri won for BMW in a wet race that featured several crashes.

The championship was being held at Moscow Raceway for the second year running. Last year, it was one of the first events held at the track, which opened in May 2012 around 80 kilometers north-west of the Russian capital.

(Updated with quotes, details)

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