Honda rider takes fourth pole position of season after setting fastest time ahead of the San Marino Grand Prix.
|Shoya Tomizawa with fans at the Catalunya MotoGP in July [GALLO/GETTY]|
Japanese rider Shoya Tomizawa was killed when he came off his motorbike and hit by two other machines in the Moto2 race at the San Marino MotoGP.
The 19-year-old Technomag-CIP rider came off his Suter bike when under pressure from Italian Alex de Angelis on Sunday.
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 30km 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 (12.20 GMT).
“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, which replaced the old 250cc class this year, 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.
Winners in shock
The three podium finishers in the MotoGP race which followed were in shock at the news.
“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.”
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.”
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.”