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Simoncelli's team pull out of race

MOTOGP: Honda Gresini have pulled out of the season-ending Valencia Grand Prix following the death of Italian MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli in Malaysia on Sunday.

Simoncelli, 24, was killed during the race at Sepang when he lost control of his bike and was struck by fellow riders Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi.

"The only certainty is that my team won't participate in the upcoming Valencia Grand Prix and in the tests programmed after the race," said team chief Fausto Gresini.

"Everything happened so fast. I'm lost for words. I know our job is dangerous, that risk is part of the game, but you always hope nothing happens. When it does happen and you find yourself in the middle of it, everything changes, it's difficult to accept it.

"The crash was caused by a sequence of incredibly negative circumstances, the bike that moved towards the inside of the turn instead of the outside, being run over on the widest track of the season."

Simoncelli's funeral is due to take place tomorrow.



Wozniacki marches on

TENNIS: Caroline Wozniacki took the first step to ending the year as world number one with victory in her opening match at the WTA Championships.

Three players had an outside chance of deposing Wozniacki in Istanbul, but simply by playing Agnieszka Radwanska the Dane was able to eliminate Victoria Azarenka from contention.

And by beating Radwanska 5-7 6-2 6-4, Wozniacki only needs to play one more round-robin match to do the same to Petra Kvitova.

The only rival Wozniacki cannot eliminate from the race so easily is Maria Sharapova, although if she goes 3-0 in the round robin stage and Sharapova does not, Wozniacki will be confirmed as the year-end number one. And that is also a step closer to happening after Sharapova lost 6-1 7-5 to US Open champion Samantha Stosur in the day's final game.



Irish duo join Leipzig

BOXING: Ken Egan and Tipperary super-heavyweight Con Sheehan have both signed one-season (six-month) contracts with the Leipzig Leopards in the World Series of Boxing.

The first outing of the new season will be a home match against Mexico City on November 11. Egan will fight at light-heavy for the Germans.



Healy back for Ireland

HOCKEY: Loreto goalkeeper Louisa Healy has been included in a 26-strong Ireland training squad ahead of December's trip to Argentina, two years after stepping down from international duties.