Japanese rider Shoya Tomizawa died from injuries sustained in a crash in the San Marino Moto2 Grand Prix yesterday.
The 19-year-old Technomag-CIP rider came off his Suter bike when under pressure from fast-charging Italian Alex de Angelis. Neither de Angelis nor British rider Scott Redding were able to avoid hitting Tomizawa, who was propelled more than 40m off the track into gravel.
Tomizawa was in his first season in the Moto2 category 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.
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 [about the death] and this big hole opened up inside me,” the 24-year-old Spaniard said.
Reigning champion Valentino Rossi of Italy 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,”
MotoGP series leader Jorge Lorenzo — who finished second in the MotoGP — was shell shocked.
“Yes, it is so sad, so sad,” he told the BBC. “It is better not to say anything about the race.”
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