Japanese rider Tomizawa dies in San Marino Moto2 GP
Misano: Japanese rider Shoya Tomizawa died from injuries sustained in a crash in the San Marino Moto2 Grand Prix on Sunday.
The 19-year-old Technomag-CIP rider came off his Suter bike when under pressure from the fast charging Italian Alex de Angelis.
Neither de Angelis nor British rider Scott Redding were able to avoid hitting Tomizawa, who was propelled over 40 metres and off the track into the gravel.
Tomizawa was taken to hospital 30 kilometres away in Riccione but was later pronounced dead.
He had suffered serious injuries to his skull, chest and abdomen, according to the race organisers.
“On Sunday, September 5 during the Moto2 race, rider Shoya Tomizawa aged 19 suffered a serious crash and subsequent cranial, thoracic and abdominal trauma,” the race organisers said in an official statement.
“Tomizawa was taken to the hospital of Riccione for immediate treatment but succumbed to his injuries at 14.20 (1220GMT).
“All the MotoGP family wants to express its deepest condolences to his family and friends.”
His death was the first in Grand Prix since 24-year-old compatriot Daijiro Kato, who died in April 2003 at the Japanese MotoGP in Suzuka.
Tomizawa was in his first season in the Moto2 category - he had had two disappointing seasons in 250cc - and had begun it in style by winning the curtain raiser in Qatar.
He followed it up with second in the second race of the season in Spain but his form had tailed off since then and he was seventh in the overall standings with 82 points.
The three podium finishers in the MotoGP race which followed were in shock at the news, their joy at their personal results firmly set aside to pay homage to Tomizawa.
“It feels so strange, there is a big hole inside me,” race winner Dani Pedrosa told the BBC.
“I was so happy and then I was told and this big hole opened up inside me,” added the 24-year-old Spaniard.
Italy’s multi-time champion and winner of this race the past two seasons, Valentino Rossi, was all but in tears.
“When it happens like this nothing else matters,” Rossi told the BBC.
“I saw the crash on TV and it was terrifying. I thought he was dead. I am very sorry but then we had to race and try and concentrate. Shoya was a very funny guy and a nice one too,” added Rossi, who suffered a serious leg break earlier this season.
MotoGP series leader Jorge Lorenzo - who finished second in the MotoGP - was shellshocked.
“Yes, it is so sad, so sad,” he told the BBC.
“It is better not to say anything about the race.”