San Marino Grand Prix winner Dani Pedrosa has admitted he had to be told of Shoya Tomizawa's death several times before news of the Moto2 racer's fatal accident truly sunk in.
Tomizawa sustained fatal injuries when he fell into the path of Scott Redding and Alex de Angelis during this morning's Moto2 event at Misano. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital while the subsequent MotoGP race was taking place, with the riders told of his passing by series chief Carmelo Ezpeleta and their teams when they reached parc ferme.
Honda rider Pedrosa had dominated the whole weekend to secure his second successive victory, but said his mood changed totally when he was informed that Tomizawa had died.
"There are no words to say how it feels after this victory - it feels like nothing," said the Spaniard. "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."
Pedrosa said he would have very fond memories of 19-year-old Tomizawa, who established himself as a rising star this season by winning the first ever Moto2 race despite being little-known outside Japan prior to 2010.
"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," said Pedrosa.
Tomizawa's death came just a week after 13-year-old Peter Lenz was killed in a support race crash during the Indianapolis GP weekend. Pedrosa said the two fatalities had been a massive blow to the motorcycle racing community - but hoped Tomizawa had been proud of what he had achieved before his untimely death.
"To lose two riders in a week is terrible," said Pedrosa. "I believe everybody in the 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."