Tomizawa Death Being Investigated

09/06/2010 @ 10:40 pm, by Jensen Beeler21 COMMENTS

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.

Source: ANSA via

  • Isaac

    I saw that whole thing on DVR. All those corner workers should go back to being circus clowns! There’s is NO DOUBT in my mind that they contributed to his death. I mean dropping him, really? And the way they just rolled him over like he was a dummy model or something. I saw no care for his wellbeing. I’m just glad it’s on tape and that those f–k faces get some jail time. Or and fire the Dorna SL managment and replace them with monkeys! They’d do a better job anyway.

  • Miguel Angelo

    Yes I saw that too was very very bad treatment.

  • Jake Fox

    In my opinion, in the incident of unconsciousness or partial paralysis of a rider after an accident the race should be red flagged and all care should be taken to minimize additional movement of the rider as he is being removed from the track and placed in the ambulance.

  • Craig

    I couldn’t believe what I was seeing when the stretcher was dropped! OMG! Clearly that indicates the corner workers were in way too much of hurry to be concerned about his injuries, especially given what they turned out to be. It appears there were EMT’s there (or the Italian equivalent) but obviously I don’t know that for sure. If so, they are at least culpable for inadequate and incompetent treatment of an injured rider. If there were no EMT’s on the scene, then the track is culpable.
    I have been a corner captain for SBK racing, and at least in that series I had complete authority in my area of responsibility, including managing the medical personnel. I would not have interfered with their medical assessment, unless I honestly felt it was a detriment to the riders health.
    On the other hand, if the track, its corner workers, or race officials are prosecuted and convicted, it will set a dangerous precedent that will affect motorcycle racing all over the globe by increasing the cost and risk to series owners, track owners, track workers and medical personnel. It would be tragic for a sport we all love so much.
    It’s a tough question though. If people are negligent, they should be held responsible and it should make things change. My concern is that over zealous politicians, looking to make a name for themselves, increase their control, and further their own agendas, will make a criminal case where there isn’t one.

  • Mark

    The law in Italy mandates that every death gets investigated. This is just standard practice in Italy and does not imply that there was any wrong doing. Ayrton Senna’s tragic accident at Imola years ago was also investigated.
    That being said, I certainly don’t agree with the way the fallen rider received medical attention. The decision to red flag a race should be determined by the severity of the injury to the rider, and not weather or not the rider can be removed from the track quickly enough or not. In other words, if the rider is conscious and moving, carting him off quickly on a stretcher is fine, however if the rider in unconscious, the race should be stopped so that he can receive proper medical attention on the spot to determine the severity of the injuries before he gets moved.

  • rrse

    the poor fellow was dead a;ready, being dropped by the medics is not good, but after all the barrel rolls he’d done after being hit by two motorcycles at over 100mph would have seemed like a massage, get real people, R.I.P Tomizawa

  • patron

    the marshals did drop him, and that certainly didnt help matters. but that was not the cause of his death. and to blast these people for trying to save his live just sounds like angry mob mentality. if tomizawa was not breathing when they got to him, and he wasnt, a neck or back injury is secondary. yes, the race should have been red flagged. yes, the marshals could have taken better care, but they are fallible human beings in a high pressure, rushed situation. they genuinely tried to take what they thought the best course of action was for saving his life. the whole incedient (and last weeks incedent as well) is a huge shame. i hope tomizawa’s, and lenz’s family can take a little comfort in the fact they both died doing exactly whay they loved.

  • Rusty

    It is patently evident the corner/track workers were not prepared. Honest to God they looked like a bunch of clowns the way they were hobbling-around and trying to decide what to do! It was cartoonish the manner in which they “aidded” Redding and what little the broadcaster showed of Tomizaway’s extraction from the racing surface can simply be summed-up as incompetent. Whether it made a difference in Shoya’s survival is for speculation but the fact remains racing facilities and racing series’ MUST have better prepared and trained personnel attending accident victims. Perhaps this series should consult the Indy Racing League’s Holmatro Safety Team consisting of approximately 24 safety personnel with a minimum of 14 attending each event–two trauma physicians, three paramedics and nine firefighters/EMTs. Team personnel have an average of 20 years of experience in their respective areas. God’s speed Shoya

  • Steveo

    For the record if anyone of the naysayers has ever had any formal srious neck training then they have a little ground to complain.

    I personally have sat through hours of athletic training and though not trained in motorcycle accidents, football is a similar injury sport.

    when you must roll someone, it literally takes 3-4 people to flop an injured person over. and it is done in a swift but controlled motion. The reports say that he was unconcious, and was not breathing. This complicated everything not to mention you are in a stage somewhere between calm and sheer terror when you witness and then react to something of this nature. You then have around a 2 minute window to roll him, get him boarded and on life support or it is futile. A lap at Misano is 1:40 ish so rolling loading and getting him to professional medical assistance or red flagging is literally a mute point.

    Shoya died of heart failure, my school lost a player in the 70’s of heart failure after tramatic injury to chest and neck in a high school football game it happens odds are dropping him didn’t help but did little to harm him. Our player was hit in head when he tripped, then was slammed in the chest by another player. He was sent to a local hospital and then died of heart failure complicated by Pneumonia which set in 2 days after he was hit. It was unlikely that he ever would have recovered if he had not gotten sick. these are sports, these things happen, and just remember if you were watching the race live or DVR you were supporting them and please continue to support them. I am sure Shoya would want that. RIP

  • @rrse & patron:
    Whether he was dead before track workers got to him is a different matter. The intention of the track workers is also a different matter.

    The only time an accident victim is moved on public roads is if there is further danger to the victim if he/she is not moved (e.g. vehicle fire). Why would this be any different on a track with much higher impacts? There are enough track workers to warn oncoming riders to stay clear of a downed rider after the initial impact.

    There should be no expediency in getting the rider off the track when the rider is not moving. Getting an ambulance and medical staff TO the rider on the track seems more in-line with medical protocol (stabilize patient).

    It takes seconds for a track worker to know if the rider is moving or not. While on the way to the immobilized rider, the track worker should be able to page the ambulance closest to that section of the track.

    Make the track entrances for aid cars much faster.

  • patron

    not moving, and not breathing are different.

  • Steveo

    Again the ambulance was right there according to reports, so not breathing and respirator in an ambulance, it is to get the rider out quick.

    On the road accidents are different and I agree without ready access to emergency equipment in short notice not moving is the best course of action.

    I this were an accident that a trained but unknowing driver came to likely first action would be to start chest compression and that effectively would have killed him nearly instantly.

  • Interestingly I notice in the photo that the fallen track Marshall was wearing a splint. Should he even have been there on the day?

    I was amazed when I saw them bundler him on th stretcher so quickly. Iwould have thought they would have been initially very concerned about spinal injuries.

  • “…so not breathing and respirator in an ambulance, it is to get the rider out quick.”
    Agreed, that is why I included the rest of my post:

    1. track workers paging aid cars
    2. track access for aid cars* to get onto the track faster than it would be to remove a rider from the track by foot/stretcher.

    If I’m an immobilized racer I don’t think I would want anyone moving me except for a paramedic, not a track worker.

    Not breathing isn’t going to be the case every time, but not moving (& breathing) means the rider should not be moved by a track worker in order to minimize other spinal, neck, and head injuries.

    “without ready access to emergency equipment in short notice not moving is the best course of action.”

    *It seems the ambulance couldn’t get there fast enough (and/or close enough) if there was so much haste in carrying him off the track.

  • “If I’m an immobilized racer I don’t think I would want anyone moving me except for a paramedic, not a track worker.”…

    forgot to add: especially since riders are tracks that must hire trained medical professionals to respond.

  • Posted elsewhere already, this reminds me so much of the Daijiro Kato accident at Suzuka in 2003. IMHO the issue is all about the show (MotoGP), it must start on time blah blah. As a fan I have been to many motorcycle race meetings, including Guy Martin’s IOM fiery crash and then Conor Cummins crash which sadly resulted in severe injuries, everyone waited for some thankfully good news and a shortened event proceeded.

    Genuine fans will wait for restarts, will accept abandonment of a race or even the meeting if it will assist the sportsperson involved. I do NOT know all the details of the Kato, Tomizawa or dare I mention Senna F1 crashes, I just feel things could have been done better and initial assessors at the scene need the power to call racing to ‘stop immediately’ regardless of outside issues to expedite Paramedic direct involvement ‘on the track’.

    Riders practice, I believe Marshalls, Flaggies, Paramedics, Ambo’s and Helicopter Evac need to practice ‘real world scenarios’ on track to!

  • JawDroppin

    Firstly – my condolence’s to the Tomizawa family – kid was truly talented and is a big loss for the Moto2 (MotoGP) community… :(

    Whilst I agree an investigation should be done – prosecution against the track officials for trying to do there job is a bit extreme! Understandably, dropping the injured rider would not of helped – but they would of been under a lot of pressure two fold – 1) for there OWN safety, and 2) for Tomi’s… Which leads to me to think that the race should of been red flagged, to allow the track officials to do there “thing” for the injured rider.

    What should be investigated is-:

    1) Why the race was not red flagged, a second race could of been scheduled with reduced numbers of laps.

    2) 40 bikes on the grid for a Moto2 – is just a few too many bikes on track, thus not allowing open gaps to be formed and also riders following one another so closely that if one falls it really can be quite unnerving as to what the end result could be (in Tomi’s case, it was fatal).

    3) Any rider that comes off and is run over by another rider accidentally – should be left on track, kept to a minimum of body movement to prevent any further complications – race red flagged – and an Ambulance dispatched to the rider.

    This is really what should be done, instead of playing the “blame” game for what is an unfortunate circumstance in all forms of motor-sport. Furthermore, it is my belief that all riders (and drivers too) sign indemnity should such unforeseen situations like this occur (could be wrong though on that).

    JD ;)

  • eze1976

    It saddens me greatly that people jump at the chance to grandstand at such a tragic time. You where not there to see the poor rider, who knows what those corner workers saw, maybe your ass would have tripped too if you saw what they did up close.. A fcking entire front end broke on the guys chest at 120/130 mph. Think about that and what it looks like from 2 feet, stop this chatty cathy BS and give the rider some respect as well as those that tried to help him.

    The response was not perfect, can we learn from this i think so, but I ask you comment as a human with respect, not some banshee pointing and screaming. The world lost a great rider, a family lost a son, a team lost a member that can never be replaced. Hold his memory and achievements high and learn from both that and what happened. I’m sorry but some of these comments should just get deleted.

  • CaliRider

    Just for some perspective, I’ve done corner work at a couple of MotoGP races…

    At the races I’ve done, the track workers are volunteers, not professionals. The medics (in red & white) of course have medical backgrounds, but are not official racetrack employees. The handlers (in orange) are typically just fans who want to help out, some have lots of corner working experience, some have none. Workers show up Friday morning on the race weekend, have a 30 minute briefing and then off to work. There is very little training or predefined organization for handlers.

    When a bike goes down in your corner it’s basically chaos, everyone scrambles while the turn marshall yells out instructions which are impossible to hear over the sound of the bikes. The whole team is trying to figure out who is taking care of what, while simultaneously looking up track for more oncoming traffic.

    The expectation is very clear though that handlers (in orange) should never touch a down rider, we simply don’t have the medical knowledge. We are there to deal with the bikes, lay down hay bales, put out a fire, or scrub up oil on the track.

    However, I just don’t feel the track workers were at fault in this case. In my opinion the race definitely should have been red flagged, a call which is not at the discretion of the turn workers. There are typically 2-4 medics stationed at each corner. If there are multiple riders involved who need medical attention, it’s literally impossible for the medics ALONE to assess them all and then carry even one of them off the track before the bikes come back around on the next lap. Even if the handlers knew they shouldn’t help carry riders, what else could they have done when it became apparent the red flag wasn’t coming out? They absolutely have to get the riders and themselves out of danger before the bikes make it back around. There could be oil on track or another rider could fixate on the scene and the disaster would compound itself.

    Honestly I’m not shocked at all that they dropped him, because they didn’t have time to focus and be careful. The gravel traps are deep, unstable footing and tough even just to walk through, let alone rushing and carrying a stretcher.

    Race Control should have made the call for the flag, so the response team could slow down, get more medics to the scene, and safely move the riders. I think anytime a stretcher is required it should be an instant red flag.

    As far as access for emergency vehicles goes, there is always an ambulance nearby, but sometimes the fastest way to the ambulance is by stretcher across the runoff, not necessarily driving the ambulance from the access roads around the air-walls, fences, and k-barriers, required at the turns.

    Most of all, my heart goes out to all the people who have lost their loved one, friend, and colleague in this tragic accident. I’m sure they are grateful for all the efforts that were made to care for Shoya and that continue to be made to improve safety in this inherently dangerous sport.

  • JB

    Well it’s obvious from watching, that nobody stopped to ascertain if he was breathing or not. they threw him on the stretcher… Negligence.

  • Wolf

    People should stop bickering and pointing fingers. There’s only one thing that matters, and that’s the death of a rider.

    Honor his memory. don’t make a case over it.

    May the roads up there be always clear, Shoya.