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Deaths show that motorcycling remains a risky sport


The death of Japanese rider Shoya Tomizawa at the San Marino Moto2 Grand Prix showed that motorcycling remains a risky sport despite all improved safety measures.

On Monday race organisers were condemned by some for not showing any mark of respect. The Moto2 race was completed despite the accident and the ensuing MotoGP race also went ahead as planned along with all ceremonies.

"You cannot hide behind a false morale. Races are dangerous and the risk is part of it ... (But) Why didn't they stop the victory ceremony. That would have been a gesture of respect," said Italian sports paper La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Il Giornale said that "no one had the courage to stop the race." 

Tomizawa, 19, crashed in the 12th lap of the race in Misano and died in a hospital of injuries sustained when he was run over by the following riders Alex de Angelis of Italy and Scott Redding of Britain. They were unable to avoid him as he fell immediately in front of them.

Tomizawa was the first MotoGP rider to die since compatriot Daijiro Kato at his Suzuka home race in 2003, but last weekend American Peter Lenz, 13, died in Indianapolis when he was run over by a 12-year-old rival after falling in the warm-up lap for a junior race.

Spanish paper El Periodico de Catalunya said that no one could escape Sunday's tragedy.

"Even the winners left Misano with tears in their eyes. They know that it could be them as well at the next race in two weeks," it said.

The AS sports daily said "the accident was simply bad luck. No one can be accused of neglect or making mistakes."

Equipment companies have tried for decades to make motorcycling safer. Riders now have various paddings and protectors in their suit to cushion the impact of a crash at more than 200kph. Airbags are also used and the HANS head-and-neck safety device from Formula One racing has also reached motorcycle racing. The measures have proven successful. There was no death in seven years until last Sunday and the majority of 507 crashes in the 2010 season alone went without major injuries.

Dario Artico, spokesman of Italian race suit makers Dainese, said that the chest and abdomen remain the most critical areas in the case of crashes, but he also said: "Of course we would like to have 100 per cent protection for the motorcycle racers. But wouldn't all riders feel invincible and act like Superman?"


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