The entire motorcycle racing world championship community was left devastated today when rising Moto2 star Shoya Tomizawa was killed in an accident at Misano.
The Japanese rider died from multiple injuries sustained when he crashed out of fourth place and slid into the path of the closely following Alex de Angelis and Scott Redding, who could do nothing to avoid hitting him at high speed.
MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi discussed the accident with the media after the race.
Q. You saw how bad the crash was, you already knew it was very serious?
Valentino Rossi: I saw the crash on television. I have to be sincere, I thought it was a bad crash, like with a lot of fractures, but not him dying. I saw the crash live. In the first moment, I did not think like this because I thought de Angelis had just hit the bike of Tomizawa and then Redding arrived. But, unfortunately, de Angelis also hit him.
About safety, they work a lot, but this is the worst thing that can happen in our sport – you crash, you remain on the line, and other bikes are right behind.
Also, in a fast, fast corner like this, usually if you crash, you go very much on the outside because the speed is high. Unfortunately, Tomizawa crashed and didn't crash, he remained on the bike and on the line. The others were too close to try to do something. But I think that with a crash like this, it's also very good that de Angelis and Redding are OK.
Q. Has reversing the direction of the track contributed to this crash because of the way the corners are now taken?
VR: No. The only thing is maybe that the corner is too fast. But the way around you run is not a big difference. Misano is a safe track like all the other tracks. Tomizawa didn't hit the wall or something particularly bad on the track. The problem is the other guys behind.
Q. How easy is it to put a crash like that from your mind and then race?
VR: Very difficult. I understood the crash was very bad, but you have to try and forget and concentrate on your race. When I stopped, straightaway Carmelo [Ezpeleta] arrived to me to say about things. It was a surprise for me, but not a very big one because I thought anyway that it was a bad, bad crash.
Q. It must be a difficult moment for de Angelis and Redding...
VR: Yeah, but de Angelis especially, but also Redding, cannot take responsibility because at 230km/h, when another bike crashes in front, there's nothing you can do. They were just in the wrong place at the wrong moment.
Q. Stirling Moss once said that when he sees a bad crash like that, he goes faster because he knows other people will go slower. Can you understand that approach?
VR: I think this was 40 years ago, no? When this type of bad crash happened a lot more.
Q. And what about your own race?
VR: I'm very happy because for sure this was the best race since I came back. The podium is good, but especially it's good the way that at the end I started to ride well.
Now [Jorge] Lorenzo and [Dani] Pedrosa are faster than me and are in better shape, and that's the reason why they finished first and second.