Paolo Giovagnoli, the prosecutor of Rimini, has opened a dossier of inquiry into the death of Shoya Tomizawa, the 19 year-old Moto2 rider who lost his life Sunday in a horrific crash during the San Marino GP. The inquest into Tomizawa’s death is investigating unknown persons, who may have contributed to Tomizawa’s injuries when he was hastily taken off the track via stretcher, which was subsequently dropped in the process. Tomizawa’s body will undergo a full autopsy, which could lead to manslaughter charges being drawn up against the track workers, and possibly track authorities as well.
Clinica Mobile and track officials have drawn heavy fire since the incident Sunday. At the center of the controversy was the decision not to red flag the race, and the brisk removal of the riders, bikes, and debris that occurred so the race could continue unhindered. Race officials have stood behind their decision saying that a red flag was not necessary to safely transport Tomizawa and the other riders, and in fact a red flag scenario would have delayed potentially lifesaving medical help to Tomizawa.
“Immediately the first idea I think is if it’s possible to stop the race because it’s dangerous, but the people with the stretcher immediately arrived and when you remove the rider from the track for my medical decision I do not ask Race Direction for the red flag because this does not help my job, because we delay the intervention for the ambulance,” said Dr. Claudio Macchiagodena of the Clinica Mobile.
“Behind the track protection we had one ambulance with the respirator inside and we started immediately all the intensive care for him. I didn’t ask for the red flag because I didn’t need it. After the rider came to the medical centre I had some people asking me why it took a lot of time. The intensive care started behind the protection of the track. Normally when you have a broken arm the ambulance is the same as a taxi, where you put the rider inside and send him quickly. Now it was very important to have the ventilation and two doctors. When he arrived at the medical centre his condition was critical, and we continued the intensive care.”
Despite Dr. Macchiagodena’s statement, the issue that many are having with the treatment by the corner workers stems from the rapid use of a stretcher to take the riders off the track. Suffering from head, back, and chest impacts, Tomizawa was taken off the track with seemingly little care given to the potential injuries in these regions.
The issue was only compounded further as Tomizawa was dropped while on the stretcher in the process of being extracted from the track. While it remains unclear if these circumstances exacerbated Tomizawa’s injuries, it has drawn serious attention to the protocols of rider safety in crashes like the one at San Marino.