The Italian Motorcycling Federation has released a statement defending decisions made in the immediate aftermath of the accident in Sunday's Moto2 race, which claimed the life of Shoya Tomizawa.
Many fans and commentators have expressed anger that the race was not stopped and that the unconscious Tomizawa was instantly moved from the track to a nearby ambulance by stretcher (a corner of which appeared to be accidently dropped), rather than driving the ambulance to Tomizawa.
Scott Redding and Alex de Angelis were also involved in the huge accident, which required the removal of three damaged motorcycles and two riders (de Angelis walked away unhurt while Redding, initially unconscious, had a back laceration requiring twelve stitches).
All riders and machines involved had been removed from the track by the time the leaders reached the scene on the following lap.
'Controversy is still continuing over the death of Japanese rider Shoya Tomizawa during the San Marino Grand Prix held on the Misano Adriatico racetrack on Sunday September 5th,' acknowledged the FMI statement, translated into English by the official MotoGP website.
'Many commentators spoke about the safety of the track and whether it would have been appropriate to stop the competition immediately after the accident.'
After noting that the track meets all safety requirements, the statement continued:
'Immediately after the accident, the injured rider [Tomizawa] was quickly moved to a safe area of the track and the paramedics were able to take action within a very short time, providing the most appropriate aid. An ambulance was at any rate ready to take the rider to the track Medical Centre, one of Italy's most modern and technically advanced facilities.
'Stopping the race - with the track having been promptly cleared, including all the debris that lay on the asphalt after the accident – would not have made any difference to the riders' safety on the track. Indeed, it would have just slowed down aid while awaiting the arrival of an equipped ambulance.
“Motorcycling is a dangerous sport”, observed the President of the Italian Federation, Paolo Sesti, “and we must all be aware of it, including those who are not directly involved in motorcycling operations. Constant efforts are being made to improve safety during competitions, and outstanding results have been achieved.
“Major actions have been taken over the years, including changes to the track layout, such as the enlargement of escape areas, changes to the curb profile, laying 'artificial grass' along the curbs. I should therefore like to express my total appreciation and sympathy to the Management of the Racing Circuit and all medical personnel and competition officials. The accident was handled in an exemplary fashion and as prescribed.
“It is of no use to continue to be angry about bad luck, for a respectful silence greeting the departed rider would be more appropriate."