Moto Media
James Stewart

MotoGP paddock united in Tomizawa grief.


There was an overwhelming sadness at Misano as riders and teams expressed their sorrow at the tragic death on Sunday of Japanese rider Shoya Tomizawa.

The untimely passing away of Shoya Tomizawa on Sunday provoked an array of sad reactions from the MotoGP paddock, as the sport lost a talented rider and one of its most popular figures.

Nineteen year-old Tomizawa, the first rider ever to win a Moto2 race at the start of the season, was a highly charismatic, friendly and well-liked person and tributes to him were paid by those who had been fortunate to experience his fantastic persona.

Moto2 race winner at Misano on Sunday Toni Elías said: "All I feel is sadness right now and my victory today is irrelevant. 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."

Elías Team Manager Fausto Gresini, who experienced the tragedy of losing a rider when Daijiro Kato passed away at Suzuka in 2003, stated: "Today is a very sad and very 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.”

MotoGP race winner Dani Pedrosa reflected: "There are no words to say how it feels after this victory - it feels like nothing. 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.”

Jorge Lorenzo said: "I don't have many words for the race on such a sad say. 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."

The Spaniard's team-mate Valentino Rossi commented: "I'm so sorry for Shoya because he was a strong rider but above all he was very ‘sympatico.' 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."

Ducati rider Casey Stoner said: "I am deeply saddened for Tomizawa, his family and everybody who worked with him. 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."

The Australian's team-mate Nicky Hayden added: "I am really sad, we have lost two riders in two weekends. 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.”

Photo courtesy of Moto GP