Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) achieved victory in today's San Marino MotoGP race but the event was dominated by the tragic death of Japanese rider Shoya Tomizawa (Technomag-CIP, Suter), who passed away after an accident during the Moto2 ...
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) achieved victory in today's San Marino MotoGP race but the event was dominated by the tragic death of Japanese rider Shoya Tomizawa (Technomag-CIP, Suter), who passed away after an accident during the Moto2 race.
Tomizawa crashed on the 12th lap of the 26 lap race. The 19-year-old 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 14.20hrs, during the MotoGP race, he succumbed to cranial, thoracic and abdominal trauma. Both Honda Motor Co. Ltd and Honda Racing Corporation would like to extend their deepest condolences to Tomizawa's family and friends.
Tomizawa's death cast a great shadow over proceedings. All MotoGP riders reacted with shock and sadness when they were told of Tomizawa's passing after they had finished their race.
Pedrosa led from start to finish, steadily increasing his advantage until he was more than five second ahead of his nearest pursuer and fellow Spaniard, Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha). In the late stages, Pedrosa eased his pace, finally finishing 1.9 seconds ahead of Lorenzo. The victory gave the former 125 and 250 World Champion his first back-to-back success in the premier class, following his win at Indianapolis last Sunday. It also strengthened his second place in the points chase -- with five races remaining he is now 63 points behind series leader Lorenzo. However, Pedrosa was informed of Tomizawa's fate as soon as he returned to pit lane, so he took no joy from his success.
Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V) tried his best to score a podium finish at his home race, but the man from Forli couldn't quite get the better of Valentino Rossi (Yamaha), another local rider and winner of the last two Misano MotoGP races. Nonetheless Dovizioso showed great determination in coming through from a third-row start.
This was also the home race for Fausto Gresini's Honda squad, but riders Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) and Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) ended the day in tenth and 14th positions. Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP RC212V) and Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda RC212V) completed the race in 12th and 13th positions.
Toni Elias (Gresini Racing Moto2, Moriwaki) won the Moto2 race, resisting pressure from runner-up Julian Simon (Mapfre Aspar Team, Suter). Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Moriwaki Moto2, Moriwaki) finished third after coming through from 15th on the starting grid.
Elias's fourth consecutive win puts him 83 points ahead of Simon whose second-place finish him moved into second overall past Andrea Iannone (Fimmco Speed Up, Speed Up) who had a luckless day. The Italian was given a ride-through penalty for jumping the start which put him at the back of the pack. He had worked himself into the points when his bike stopped with three laps to go.
Luthi's ride took him from 14th on lap one to third, a position he claimed from Simone Corsi (JIR Moto2, Motobi) with three laps to go. During the closing stages Corsi came under pressure from the next group, led by Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing, Suter), the German only just ahead of Jules Cluzel (Forward Racing, Suter) and Gabor Talmacsi (Fimmco Speed Up, Speed Up).
The accident that claimed Tomizawa also involved British rider Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team, Suter) and San Marino rider Alex De Angelis (JIR Moto2, Motobi). Redding was badly bruised and grazed; receiving ten stitches to a laceration in his back. De Angelis was able to walk away from the incident.
Tomizawa, from Chiba, 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. This year he moved into the new Moto2 series and made history by winning the opening round in Qatar.
HONDA MotoGP RIDER QUOTES
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V): race winner "There are no words to say how it feels after this victory -- it feels like nothing. I arrived at parc ferme very happy with the win and I immediately felt that the atmosphere among my mechanics was really strange, everybody was serious. Still with my helmet on they told me about Tomizawa and I couldn't react. It was a big shock, a big contrast for me. I asked three times if it was true because I couldn't believe it.
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. To lose two riders in a week is terrible [American Peter Lenz died at Indianapolis last weekend]. I believe everybody in the World Championship is feeling the same now and I want to send my condolences to the family. When you are born, life gives you the chance to choose what you want to do. Tomi chose to be a rider and in fact he was doing great. I just want to think that he's been happy making his dream come true.
Concerning the race, I want to say thank you again to my team for doing a great job. The whole weekend has been perfect: good practices, a very high pace during the race, and the second win in a row and the fourth of the season. I want to keep my feet on the ground though and just concentrate on one race at a time. The feeling on the bike is very good now and my goal is to continue in this way. But to be honest I'm not really thinking about that at this moment."
Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V): 4th "My thoughts are with Shoya Tomizawa. I was informed after the race and the news is like a slap in the face. Two tragic accidents in two races is so terrible and it reminds us how dangerous our job is. The safety commission has improved safety levels so much that we often forget this aspect. I'm so sorry for Tomizawa's family.
Having become a father I can understand that this is the worst thing that can happen for a family. Unfortunately we couldn't do anything: these were two casualties, two accidents with a similar dynamic where the track-side barriers were not touched. This can happen and this is why our job is so risky. Concerning the race, we did the maximum. The race weekend was so complicated but we succeeded in turning the bad results from qualifying into a good race. I'm not happy with the fourth position though because our target was the podium. Today the bike was working better and I also improved my riding -- I rode differently from qualifying. We could race with a high pace and this is the important point. I was pushing so hard and, especially in the middle of the race, me and Valentino were putting in really fast lap times. I tried to catch Rossi but in the end I couldn't make it. We will start for the next race from here: we were fast and now we need concrete results."
Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V): 10th "There is nothing I have to say about today's race. It is a tragic day."
Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP RC212V): 12th "All I can say is I'm very sad. Tomizawa was a great friend."
Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda RC212V): 13th "I do not want to speak about me and my race. This weekend ended in the most horrible way. My thoughts go to Shoya and his family."
Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V): 14th "Today is a very sad and tough day, when racing doesn't feel like it should. I know just how hard it is to lose a rider in these circumstances and I know the pain that his family and all the guys on the team who worked with him are feeling right now. There is little more to say. This is an extremely sad day. We knew immediately that the race was serious, but you always hope at times like this that there will be a miracle and the rider will get to his feet. Unfortunately that wasn't the case today."
MOTO2 RIDER QUOTES
Toni Elias (Gresini Racing Moto2, Moriwaki): race winner "When I came in at the end of the race I could see in everyone's eyes that something wasn't right. Because I was out front, I never saw the accident. Tomizawa was a great guy; this is very, very sad. My condolences to his family and family. I have to say thanks to my team who worked very hard this weekend and also for their work with Moriwaki which give me this victory, so I have to say thanks to them. Thanks also to the Clinica Mobile who have given me a lot of help after my illness at Indy. But more than anything this is a very sad day for racing."
Julian Simon (Mapfre Aspar Team, Suter): 2nd "Like Toni, I have to say this is a very sad day for our sport, my heart goes out to Tomizawa's family and friends. This was a very tough race. We didn't see the accident so we had no idea what had happened. In the race I tried to close the gap on Toni, but he was too fast, especially through T1 and T2."
Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Moriwaki Moto2, Moriwaki): 3rd "I saw the sadness in people's eyes when I came into the pits after the race. I would like to offer my thoughts and condolences to his family; we will miss Tomizawa very much. This weekend we struggled quite a bit during practice because we had a few technical problems. Last night my mechanics worked really hard and were able to fix the problems, so I have to say thank you to them."