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Shoya Tomizawa Dead: Teenage Rider Killed At Moto2 Event

09/ 5/10 04:24 PM ET   AP

Shoya Tomizawa Dead Killed

MISANO ADRIATICO, Italy — Motorcycle racing endured its second tragedy in eight days Sunday, this time at the San Marino Grand Prix.

Shoya Tomizawa became the second teenage rider to die in the sport when the 19-year-old fell and was hit by two trailing riders during the Moto2 race.

Tomizawa's crash was similar to the accident that claimed Peter Lenz last Sunday. The 13-year-old from Vancouver, Wash., died during a warmup event at the United States Grand Prix in Indianapolis, where he fell and then was hit by another rider in a U.S. Grand Prix Racers Union series event.

"Nothing has happened for two years and now we have two deaths in two weeks," said Carlo Pernat, manager of Loris Capirossi and Marco Simoncelli. "This time it is a boy of only 19 years of age."

Before 2010, Japan's Daijiro Kato was the last rider to die from an accident. He crashed during the first race of the 2003 season, at Suzuka in Japan, and died following two weeks in a coma.

There have been 46 recorded deaths in MotoGP since the series was founded in 1949.

Tomizawa's death cast a somber mood over the San Marino GP.

"I don't have much to say about today's race, it is such a sad day," said Moto GP leader Jorge Lorenzo. "The loss of Shoya is a tragedy because he was a great guy and a great rider.

"I am very sad and want to say how much I am thinking about his family and friends at the moment. When something like this happens nothing else matters."

Tomizawa lost control of his bike and hit his head on the track as his bike flipped over. While on the track, he was hit at full speed by riders Alex De Angelis and Scott Redding.

A statement on the MotoGP website said Tomizawa died of cranial, thoracic and abdominal trauma.

Tomizawa was initially put on an artificial respirator at the Misano World Circuit medical center before he was taken to a hospital in Riccione, where he died.

"I'm truly devastated about what happened to Shoya," said De Angelis. "I'm close to his family and all of them loved him a lot. ... In moments like this nothing seems to matter.

"I saw Shoya fall in front of me. It is the worst ever incident in my career. I tried everything I could to avoid him and hit his motorbike instead."

De Angelis was treated at the track and allowed to leave. Redding was taken to a hospital to check on his condition.

Moto2 is the new name for the former 250cc category, one step below the 500cc division of MotoGP. Moto2 also generates tremendous speeds and officials said they decided not to cancel the race due to the fear of other accidents if a red flag was suddenly shown.

The races continued and the riders were only informed of Tomizawa's death afterward.

"They've just told me what happened and words can't describe it," said Dani Pedrosa of Spain, winner of the featured MotoGP race.

World champion Valentino Rossi saw video of the accident.

"I saw the incident on the TV monitor and I could see that it was serious – but not that serious," said Rossi, who finished third. "When these things happen, nothing else seems to matter."

The accident had some riders trying to put into perspective the danger they encounter on the track.

"This tragic incident makes us recall how dangerous our work is," said Andrea Dovizioso of Italy. "The safety commission have worked hard over the last few years and we often forget the work they do."

The first death in MotoGP occurred at the Isle of Man Grand Prix in 1949. Reuben "Ben" Thomas died when he drove into a banking.

The next MotoGP race takes place in Spain on Sept. 19.

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Filed by Whitney Snyder  |