Second Tragedy In Two Weeks: Shoya Tomizawa Killed In Misano Moto2 Race

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.

Shoya Tomizawa at Assen

Shoya Tomizawa

Photos courtesy of Michel Hulshof,

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Hard to believe... Intermediate reports seemed to be indicating that all three were going to be OK...

He seemed to have such a bright outlook. So outgoing.

Very sorry for this.

A few things:

1. Alex and Scott, there was absolutely nothing that you could've done to avoid hitting Shoya. Very relieved to hear that you two are doing much better than could've been the case given your massive tumbles.

2. Rules should absolutely mandate red flags - no exceptions - when any rider is unable to walk away on his own.

It is absolutely unforgivable to dispatch of so haphazardly potentially seriously injured riders for nothing more than expediency, for TV schedules, etc.

To make the restarts as fair as possible, keep time spreads/differences between riders from the prior sector checkpoint, and restart grid with positions as of the same last checkpoint.

RIP Shoya, A bright light snuffed out
You will be missed

PD, Why the proselytising about the rules at this time?
I watched the race and the Red flag was out by the next lap anyway. The rules and Track officials application of them work now I think. 

The race was never red-flagged.

Scott was simply deposited on the stretcher while he was still writhing with the initial bursts of pain, and just shuffled away. Shoya was likewise just dumped on a stretcher, and I understand that in the haste he may have even been dropped from the stretcher. All this for the sake of removing the "detritus" out of the way as quickly as possible so that the race wouldn't have to be stopped.

The point is, that the rules should absolutely mandate that the well-being of an injured rider should never be sacrificed for the sake of expediency, of tight TV schedules, of ratings, etc. All races should be red-flagged if any rider is injured enough that he can't of his own accord walk away, thereby avoiding situations where injuries may potentially become worse by unadvisedly hustling the injured away.

The part about the restarts is there because, apart from the everpresent reluctance of race organizers to red-flag races, there's always also the arguments of restarts unfairly penalizing those riders who had gained advantageous positions prior to the stoppage subsequently losing those gains upon a restart. The point being to make whatever will make it as less difficult as possible to invoke a red-flagged stoppage under appropriate circumstances, as certainly should have been the case today.

I posted my comment because I am sorry that Shoya was lost. I posted my comment because I am pissed off that the race wasn't stopped. I'm still pissed now, but I was pissed as it was happening. What more has to happen to call for red flags.

I don't know that Shoya could have been saved had the race been stopped and had medical personnel taken much more time and care in attending to his transport, but one thing is definitely certain: his condition most definitely was not helped by the way that the whole situation was so haphazardly handled.

Both of these posts have been edited. The points being made are valid, though there are arguments both for and against, but the tone of the posts was pointlessly controversial. That kind of tone will not be tolerated here, however understandable it is that emotions run high over this tragic event. 

I have to vote in favor of red flags as well. Stick and ball sports have injury delays. Why would motorcycle road racing be any different? Resisting throwing the red flag is a foolish priority.

I really admired Tomizawa. Really terrible to be reminded of the dark side of the sport two weeks in a row also.

Farewell to you Shoya, and utmost condolences to your family, friends, and team.

RIP Shoya

This seems to be another tragic incident that shows that no matter what safety precautions may be taken by equipment manufacturers and track officials motorcycle racing is always going to have that unpredictable element of danger. It's a sport that we all love and I think a long time had passed without that acknowledgment of the dangers being foremost in our minds. This should only strengthen our respect for the riders and remind us that Peter Lentz and Shoya Tomiza along with countless others have died doing something that 99.99% of us never get the chance to...that is doing something day in and day out for a living that they truly loved.

This is just awful. I couldn't be any LESS ashamed to admit that it brings tears to my eyes. Kato really broke my heart, too. Then Peter Lenz...and now this.

Let's talk about business some other time. Just FEEL for a few minutes. There's plenty of time for thinking and analyzing tomorrow.

This boy has a Mama and a Daddy who will never hug their beloved son...ever again. A brother, a cousin, a grandson, a nephew has been lost forever. Yes, he died doing what he loved, but sit his Mama down and tell her that the little boy she gave birth dead. Peter Lenz' family also know this feeling.

If that can't bring a moment of EMPATHY (forget SYMpathy, let's show a little EMpathy--look it up in the dictionary if necessary), then check yourself for a pulse. If there's not a tear anywhere in the water that makes up the majority of your body's composition, then get together with a mirror, a priest, a shrink, or somebody. If you're scared of being a "big wuss" in front of your macho buddies, ride out into the country and give it a try all by your lonesome. But try, just for a moment, to try and grasp the magnitude of what his family just lost...THEN, and only then, consider what we've lost. You might get some idea what it would be like...if you go back to last year to Valencia and see the reaction from Aoyama's parents when he won the World Championship. Now, take that reaction, and turn it to grief. I cannot grasp that level of pain.

If you know me AT ALL, you know that I have exactly NO intention of stepping on anyone's toes or offending any of my friends here in the slightest amount. I'm just saying that to stand still, to put the intellectualizing of it all ON HOLD for a minute, and to just let the tidal wave of this tragedy hit you full brings a new depth. To the appreciation of what is being risked every week. To the valuation of the people around us. To the reminding us of no guarantee for tomorrow, or even one more moment to say and do what needs to be said and done. To a lot of things. It hurts, and we're not naturally predisposed to do things that we know will hurt us, but it makes us more human if we will do it of our own free will. And that can never be a bad thing.

If anyone from the Tomizawa family should read any of this, I say that we all are thinking of you, praying for you, hurting for you, and/or some combination of the three.

That's all.

I couldn't agree with the "Tide" more. I am frankly at a loss for words so thank you "Tide" for your observations.

It's with great sadness that my thoughts are with the Tomizawa family. It hurts so much more because I heard the news when watching MotoGP first then Moto2, looking at a smiling kid on the grid wearing #48, and having a crushing feeling that something is happening as the race lapped on, until the moment. Every moments, every passing involving #48 sent a jolt down my spine because I knew the outcome. It's hard to not shed a tear for this kid.

My prayer goes out to the late Craig Jones, Peter Lenz and Shoya Tomizawa's family and friends.

Very well said tide. I think we all can relate to these incidents in a certain way. Cause we all have that love and passion for motorcycles and racing. It really saddened me when i saw videos of peter and pictures of Shoya. I wish their families the best.

Maybe this is an odd thought, but it's not Shoya for whom I feel sorrow. I grieve his absence, which is selfish on my part, because I'd rather him be here than gone. But...

He's not in pain anymore. He's where he is. I won't rock the boat here. If you believe it's nowhere, if you believe it's Heaven, if you believe it's a leaf or whale or drop of water, regardless...he's beyond caring about all of this.

It's his family who are hurting. And it's for them I grieve.

R.I.P Shoya. Two fatalities in 2 weeks. This one happened at Misano, where Rainey was paralyzed, during the DediKato event. Unpleasant.

I watched a brave young man die today. In real time. When I fired up the TV, full of excitement for the 'entertainment' provided by all those brave riders, in all three classes of racing, I was full of anticipation. But not to see one of them die. Right before my eyes.

God bless you, Shoya. You've found peace. God bless your family, friends, fans and colleagues - may they come to terms with your leaving us so soon and so tragically. And especially, Scott and Alex - there was absolutely nothing you could have done in the circumstances.

My thoughts go out to Shoya Tomizawas family and friends.
A really gutting accident, reminded me of Craig Jones' fall and it gave me the same sick feeling.

I have never felt comfortable with the return to Misano. I still cannot think of anything but Rainey when we start talking about the track.

Now, it is going to be very hard to ever watch another race here.

RIP, Shoya. My thoughts are with you and your family.

--------------------------------------------- - MotoGP Data & Statistics

17 years to the day also.
Terrible to see someone who was obviously so respected and well-liked go out like that.

They had to run it right b/c left was too dangerous. Going right created the insanity that is turn 11. Since the first time they ran it in 2007, I knew it was bad news, and I'm not surprised it has taken a life.

I'm crying like a baby here. This is too much. No words. Condolences to his family.


Even at nearly 10 pm UK time I find this news hard to swallow.

Such a tragic lose to the racing world.

Great shame.

First, for those who have not yet seen it (or don't plan to), Shoya Tomizawa essentially lost the bike after getting off the pavement.  It is difficult to tell, exactly, but it appeared to me that the front was starting to pick up and wash out a little and he drifted off line enough that when the rear got beyond the curbing, it instantly snapped out from under him and threw him back on to the track.

Second, more complete information will be available in the coming days, but for those who have not read these notes from the Race Direction Press Conference, it is strongly recommended.  Essentially, because of where the accident happened (near a posted ambulance), they felt it would have taken longer to stop the race and release the ambulance than it did to bring him to the ambulance.  At the point of discussing bringing an abmulance on course, there is equal concern for the rest of the riders still on course, so it cannot be rushed, either.  Timing for television is not on the list of concerns.

I think they had tried to do the right thing by bringing Shoya to the medical equipment quickly instead of letting him lay there and wait to bring the same equipment to him on the track which would most likely take longer. It has been very sad these past two Sundays. I was crying a lot during the Moto GP podium during which they had flags at half mast and really no celabrating going on.

What 'concern for the rest of the riders still on course'? A red flag goes up at all stations at the same time. Riders raise their left arm. The racing stops immediately. The field rides around at reduced speed to pit in and clear the track. It takes hardly any time at all.

I read that press conference and it sounded like a bunch on ass covering baloney. The race should have been stopped immediately. There was debris all over the track, let alone a rider lying on the racing surface.

How is it you know what their list of concerns are?

I'd like not to have too many arguments back and forth under this story. I will be posting my analysis of the situation later this week, where we can all have a full and frank discussion - in the right MotoMatters tone, of course, so no name-calling or insults - but I'd like to avoid that discussion here.

Guys dont fight over red flags on a Post to Tomizawa.
The red flag would not have saved him.
Having seen both racing crahes Craigs and Tomizawas and my best friend being killed the same way here in Australia as the start of a race a few years ago, it scares me at the start of every race with bikes this fast. You carnt stop these guys racing! they love it..
RIP Tomizawa, you will be in great company.

It's bad enough DeAngelis and Redding have to live with the "what ifs" of this tragedy. Like you said, the red flag wouldn't have saved him. Those guys have to make a split-second decision on how to handle a crash and none of us could say definitively that we would have done it any differently had it been us there. Not to say it's impossible someone would put ratings and schedules too high up the order in their thinking, but to accuse marshals of doing so should require a very high burden of evidence.

None of that is important right now though. To echo virtually all the racers I saw interviewed today, nothing about today's races matters aside from the fact that we lost Shoya Tomizawa. That's it.

Anytime a rider is injured in racing is bad enough, but to lose a life is the worst. As it just so happens that in the past two racing weekends we've lost two young talented riders in a similar racing accident.

Although the type of contact is almost impossible to prevent when riders are within such close proximity to each other, I think more steps need to be taken to have more medical services on track, clinica mobile has great resources but could more be added?

David - when the time would be appropriate - I wonder what Wayne Rainey's thoughts are concerning this incident at Misano. I read that he wasn't too thrilled that MotoGP decided to return to the track, even with turning the race direction opposite from previous years. Maybe you would be able to get some feedback from him about the circuit?

At the IoMTT we are trained in the 'golden hour' in that getting someone critically injured into a hospital well within that hour increases the chances of survival after initial assessment and stabilisation. Even here casualties are in hospital within 20-30mins maximum.
Short of having a complete emergency room and operating theatre with the required specialists at the track, there is very little else that could have been done.
Reading the list of injuries I'd be pretty sure that Shoya suffered pretty much unsurvivable trauma of the type that I have seen many times.

It would be wrong not to review procedures after such an incident, it doesn't always mean that anything can be improved. Apart from dropping the stretcher I would have said that the medics carried out their jobs thoroughly.

Stopping the race wouldn't have changed anything and the injuries would not have been known, although there was a probability that they were serious.

This is very sad and luckily very rare in short circuit racing, which makes it's effect more harrowing. My condolences to all affected family and friends.

There was most likely nothing that was done that could have saved Shoya but when a racer is on the track and unable to get up on his on power the race should be immediately stopped to take the time to ensure no further damage is done before he is deemed secure and stabilized enough to move him.

This lesson should have been learned years ago in 2003 when Kato was tragically killed.

No excuse for this is acceptable.

What a sad, sad day. But what a pleasure it was to follow the short career of Shoya and to see that chin to chin boyish smile. He died doing what he loved and was living his dream.

Indeed he was off the race line and no black or red flag would have changed anything. As long as the workers knew how to be careful with his cervical spine there is no fault to expeditiously moving someone off a race track.

I know in times like this I tend to instinctively to cast blame. I can only wonder what could have been had Shoya been immediately flown to the Italian equivalent to a level one trama center and bypassed their other efforts.
Having seen the mechanism of impact as soon as they suspected a heart contusion, they would realize he would have needed immediate thoracotomy and more than the respiratory resuscitation efforts the press release states he got. Just saying what if, but what if he had faster transport to a higher level of care... Sorry for the medical jargon.

Rest in peace Shoya. You will be missed

Heartfelt condolences to the Tomizowa Family, his friends and team.
We feel your pain.
Nothing else I could possibly write here matters a damn or would make any difference.

From a UK MotoGP fan and his family.

The events of the last eight days are too hard for everyone, but we must remember they are specially difficult for the families, the teams and the riders involved on those unlucky accidents. My thoughts are with all of them. Forever 45 and Forever 48. Your departure is really hard to swallow.

Once again I'm finding myself hating the sport I love.

Some work needs to go into protecting fallen riders from following bikes. Huge strides have been made with back protectors in the last decade or two. Lets see some work being put into chest and throat protectors.

I didn't particularly follow Moto2 and so unfortunately haven't seen Shoya at his best, but his death saddens me deeply and I only hope he's enjoying that big ol' race track up there in the sky, where the grip never ends and the paddock girls are always pretty...

four racers in the last week including Peter Lenz at Indy, Chris Bradshaw and James Adam at the Manx GP and then Shoya Tomizawa. They will be missed by many and mourned by millions. Godspeed Gents, enjoy the golden roads. My thoughts and prayers go out to their family and friends.

For those that feel the need to discuss the safety involved, I've started a topic in the Moto2 section of the MotoMatters Forum. Let's leave that discussion out on this page and do it there.

Two weekends in a row I find myself praying for people that I did not know but could only admire through my computer screen for their courage and God given talents. It is all the more bitter that this tragic irony is what took them.

To the Tomizawa family, I pray that you have the strength to carry on and to be as brave and courageous as your son.

To the rest of us, I would encourage us to re-read Crimson Tide's post from a few moments ago. It is an emotional challenge that we should not shrink from.

So very saddened by this.

Spies for President

I couldn't believe my ears when I heard the news, I was racing too and it indeed affected me, as a racer(amateur) I have witnessed death on the track and it's the the worst thing can happen, I wish peace for all his relatives and family and may he race in heaven with the greatest of them all, for me he's a hero.

Like all of us MotoGP fans, we feel this incredible, tragic loss. With the new Moto2 class, I was watching all the races and had become a huge fan of Tomizawa along with many other who were running in the top ten+.

For all the comments about red-flagging the race ... I don't know. My instinct is that it is better to get the riders off the track and to the clinic asap ... not for TV ratings but because they have the best medical attention and the helicopter nearby. We all saw Tomizawa being hit twice (through no fault of those riders) and were happy to hear, at the time, that the injuries weren't life-threatening. Sadly, not true as it turned out.

We've lost Tomizawa and Lenz in just one week. And our hearts go out to the family, friends, and fans of both these racers. They were stars doing what they loved to do to LIVE life to the fullest. RIP indeed.