Tragedy has struck the motorcycle racing community for the second time in 8 days. Technomag CIP rider Shoya Tomizawa died in hospital of injuries sustained in a crash during the Moto2 race at Misano.
The crash happened on lap 12 of the 26 lap race. Tomizawa lost the rear while pushing hard through turn 11, falling in front of Alex de Angelis and Scott Redding. Neither rider could avoid the fallen Tomizawa, striking him hard at the fastest part of the track. Both men also fell, De Angelis escaping uninjured, while Redding suffered injuries to his hips. Because he was struck by two bikes, Tomizawa suffered blunt force trauma to the cranium, thorax and abdomen.
Tomizawa was taken straight from the track to the Hospital of Riccione, but the 19-year-old Japanese rider was suffering from severe cardiac instability, and Tomizawa eventually died of heart failure.
Shoya Tomizawa was currently in 7th place in the championship standings, having got the season off to a good start by winning the very first Moto2 race at Qatar in April. Since then, Tomizawa had been a consistent force in Moto2, scoring 2nd in Jerez and constantly challenging at the front. Tomizawa first rode in Grand Prix as a wildcard rider in 125s, and after finishing 14th in the 2008 Japanese 250cc Grand Prix, the Technomag team offered him a full time ride on a 250 for 2009, keeping the rider for the inaugural Moto2 season this year.
Tomizawa's death is the second in two weeks at a Grand Prix event, last weekend's Indianapolis Grand Prix having seen the death of the bright young talent Peter Lenz, a 13-year-old from Vancouver, Washington, during a support race. The two deaths bear remarkable similarities, both being caused after the riders were struck by other bikes after crashing. Modern motorcycle track safety is at a very high level indeed, but this is the one type of incident that cannot be avoided, nor the danger removed.
The previous death in Grand Prix racing was another Japanese rider, Daijiro Katoh, who died after crashing at Suzuka in 2003. In a twist of bitter irony, the street outside the Misano circuit is named after Katoh.
Photos courtesy of Michel Hulshof, Sports-photography.org