The MotoGP paddock is in mourning over the death of Japanese talent Shoya Tomizawa after he was tragically killed in a racing incident during last Sunday's Moto2 World Championship event at Misano in Italy.
The MotoGP paddock is in mourning over the death of Japanese talent Shoya Tomizawa after he was tragically killed in a racing incident during last Sunday’s Moto2 World Championship event at Misano in Italy.
Tomizawa, the 19-year-old who won the inaugural Moto2 race at Qatar to commence the 2010 season, succumbed to injuries after a devastating multi-bike pile-up on the weekend.
“We are extremely saddened by the death of Shoya Tomizawa, a charming and talented rider with a promising future, which reminds us that our sport, in spite of a reduced number of fatal accidents in recent years, is not without risk for its competitors,” said FIM president Vito Ippolito.
“In these difficult times that plunge our sport into mourning, I reiterate my heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Shoya Tomizawa as well as to the Japanese Federation.”
Tomizawa’s fellow Honda rider and Misano MotoGP race winner Dani Pedrosa also extended his sympathy to the family and friends of Tomizawa.
There are no words to say how it feels after this victory – it feels like nothing,” Pedrosa explained. “It’s so sad, terrible, and these things should never happen. As a person I can only say that he was a very funny boy, always happy and making jokes, and as a rider he earned respect from everybody in a very short time, he was fast and brave.”
Moto2 race winner and world championship leader Toni Elias also remembered one of his greatest rivals in the 2010 season.
“All I feel is sadness right now and my victory today is irrelevant,” the Spaniard said. “I was talking and joking with Tomizawa only yesterday in the Clinica Mobile and to think that he is no longer with us is truly awful. Even today we were out there racing together when he was in front of me before this incredible tragedy. He has left an indelible mark on my life.”
MotoGP World Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo, second at Misano, was another who had great respect for Tomizawa.
“I don’t have many words for the race on such a sad say,” he said. “It’s a huge pity because he was a good guy and a strong rider. I am so sad and I just want to say how sorry I am for his family and his friends. When this happens nothing else matters.”
Lorenzo’s Fiat Yamaha teammate and multiple-time world champion Valentino Rossi remembered not only Tomizawa’s riding, but also his great personality that has become evident since he became a GP rider in 2009.
“I’m so sorry for Shoya because he was a strong rider but above all he was very ‘sympatico,'” Rossi reflected. “He was very funny, always smiling and he always had nice things to say to everyone. He was also very young with a great career ahead of him so we are all very sad.”
Australia’s 2007 MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner was another who remembered Tomizawa, saddened by the tragic events on Sunday.
“I am deeply saddened for Tomizawa, his family and everybody who worked with him,” Stoner explained. “It is something truly terrible and it left me breathless, like a week ago [and the death of Peter Lenz]. It was a pleasure to watch him ride and I was looking forward to see him have a great career.”
Stoner’s Ducati teammate and 2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden added his memories of Tomizawa.
“I am really sad, we have lost two riders in two weekends,” the American said. “My thoughts are with his family and his team but I think the whole paddock has been hit hard by this tragedy. At the end of the day we are all brothers here. We have lost a talented kid with a great personality. I loved his style, his determination and the smile he always wore.”
Both Honda Motor Co. Ltd and Honda Racing Corporation also extended their deepest condolences to Tomizawa’s family and friends.
“We are very saddened by this news and our thoughts of course are now with Shoya’s family and friends,” said HRC vice president Shuhei Nakamoto. “He was at the start of his Grand Prix career and today we have lost fine young rider and a talent for the future. Shoya had fighting spirit, we will all miss him very much.”
Tomizawa crashed on the 12th lap of the 26-lap Moto2 race. The Japanese rider was immediately treated at trackside, then at the circuit medical centre and then at Riccione hospital. Numerous attempts were made to resuscitate him, but at 14:20 local time he succumbed to cranial, thoracic and abdominal trauma.
Tomizawa, from Chiba in Japan, was a very popular rider in the MotoGP paddock, known for his sunny smile and determination on the racetrack. He made his grand prix debut at Motegi in the 125 class in 2006.
In 2008 he took the runner-up spot in the 250 All-Japan Championship. He became a full-time GP rider last season, taking 17th place in the 250 World Championship. He will always be remembered in the history books as the first ever Moto2 race winner.