Twelve more riders were involved in the ensuing, horrific pile-up.
In 1972, Saarinen had beaten ‘Paso’ to the 250cc crown by a solitary point, in what was the closest the Italian rider was to ever come to world championship glory. He’d also finished runner-up in 1968’s 350cc championship chase, on the Benelli.
Pasolini’s committed riding style – exampled here at Brands Hatch in 1968, aboard the Benelli four – made him a crowd favourite, while his battles with Agostini for ‘Italian supremacy’, split fans in his home nation.
Pasolini rode mainly Aermacchi and Benelli throughout his career, beginning with the flat-single four-stroke pushrod Aermacchi, switching to the four-cylinder four-stroke Benelli, then back to Aermacchi, now owned by Harley-Davidson, and campaigning a two-stroke 250cc twin. He didn’t win his first GP until 1969 (250cc Dutch TT) in what was his 33rd year, claiming his last GP win in 1972. He won six GPs.
In 1986 Ducati named its ‘Paso’ model after the bespectacled racer, who is still fondly remembered by the Italian racing community. At the 2013 ASI Motoshow a special tribute saw a Pasolini Benelli, a Saarinen Yamaha, an Aermacchi and Chas Mortimer (who was in that fateful 1973 race) on a Yamaha circulating in high speed, shrieking homage. Pasolini’s son was among the onlookers.