9 September 2010
Shoya Tomizawa tribute
Shoya Tomizawa wrote his name in motorcycle grand prix history by winning the first ever Moto2 grand prix, at the start of the 2010 season at Qatar.
His death, at the age of just 19 in last Sunday's Misano race, came only ten rounds after his greatest triumph.
In between, the Japanese quickly established himself as a fast and exciting rider on track, and happy-go-lucky teenager off track, recognisable by his broad smile and unassuming attitude.
Tomizawa's riding talent had been hidden behind uncompetitive machinery during his first full season of grand prix racing, in the 2009 250cc World Championship, where he took a best finish of tenth and 17th in the championship.
But the level playing field offered by the new Moto2 category gave the #48 his opportunity to shine. His shock Qatar victory, from ninth on the grid, was followed by pole position and a podium at round two in Jerez.
Tomizawa - who lost the world championship lead to Toni Elias at round three - had remained second in the points until round seven.
And he was quick to the end, leading the huge Moto2 field for three laps at Misano before the tragic lap 12 fall that claimed his life.
Tomizawa was born in Chiba, Japan, on December 10, 1990 and began racing at the age of just 3. He finished runner-up in the All-Japan 125cc Championship in 2006, and again in the 250cc class in 2008.
Tomizawa made his grand prix debut as a 125cc wild-card at Motegi in 2006, and claimed his first grand prix finish (22nd) in the 2007 event.
His third and final wild-card ride, in the 250cc class at the 2008 Motegi race, resulted in 14th place and paved the way for a full season of world championship competition with the CIP team in 2009.
Tomizawa had been a Honda rider throughout his grand prix career, and - like all the Moto2 field - his Technomag-CIP Suter was powered by a Honda engine.
"We have lost a fine young rider and a talent for the future. Shoya had fighting spirit, we will all miss him very much," said Shuhei Nakamoto, vice-president of Honda Racing Corporation.
Tomizawa's death is the first in motorcycle grand prix racing since Daijiro Kato at Suzuka in 2003.
Like many Japanese, Tomizawa raced with the #74 on his shoulder, as a tribute to Kato.
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