Thousands of mourning fans filled the streets of Coriano, Italy, and at the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, for the funeral of MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli, on Thursday. 

Simoncelli's childhood friends were the pallbearers and took the coffin from the town's theatre, where a remembrance room had been set up, to the church. Many observers clapped as the coffin passed them, and then released red balloons with Simoncelli's number 58 on them.

Present at the funeral were fellow MotoGP stars Valentino Rossi, Mattia Pasini, Jorge Lorenzo and Randy De Puniet. 

The funeral was broadcasted live on big screens outside the church and at the nearby Misano Adriatico circuit, as well as on various Italian television stations. 

The 24-year-old Italian star tragically died after suffering chest, head and neck injuries when he lost control of his Honda during Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix. At Turn 11, just four minutes into the race, his bike swerved across the track, where he ended up in the path of Rossi and American Colin Edwards. 

Simoncelli was motionless on the track following the collision, and his helmet had come off.

In tribute to Simoncelli, Rossi revved the engine of Simoncelli's Honda and then wheeled it out behind the coffin as it left the church. 

The bishop of Rimini Francesco Lambiasi told the mourners that Simoncelli had gone to a better place.

The night before his last race, he said he wanted to win a grand prix so he could stand on the podium and see everyone better, said Lambiasi. And now, dolefully, we cannot see you but there is the pleasure and joy in knowing that you have reached the highest podium there is.

A burgeoning talent in MotoGP, Simoncelli, nicknamed Super Sic, was also known for his flamboyant personality and his mop of curly hair. Experts say he had potential to be a future MotoGP world champion.

Simoncelli's death was the first in MotoGP since Daijiro Katoh died from injuries in April 2003 at the Japanese Grand Prix. Japanese teenager Shoya Tomizawa died after crashing in a Moto2 race at San Marino in September 2010.

Here is a look at the funeral: