Motorcycling: Officials hope better body protection can prevent repeat of recent tragedies

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The Independent Online

Motogp is looking to develop improved body protection for riders to help them survive the kind of accident that has killed two teenagers on successive race weekends. Nineteen-year-old Japanese rider Shoya Tomizawa, a rising talent who won this year's first Moto2 race, died in Sunday's San Marino Grand Prix after he fell and was hit at around 150 miles per hour by other riders close behind. Only a week before, 13-year-old American Peter Lenz had died in similar circumstances in a support race at the Indianapolis Grand Prix.

"We can say that what happened was nothing to do with safety," said MotoGP safety delegate Franco Uncini. "These kinds of injuries unfortunately could happen at any time. With the technology we have at this moment it's very difficult to solve this problem but we are trying to work on this and trying to have something that in the future will help us have less damage in this kind of incident. We are waiting on somebody who is working to solve this kind of problem with the impact. We know that somebody is starting research in this kind of area. At the moment, we are not ready yet. We think that with our experience and their experience, we'll work together to try and improve in this area in the future – in the very near future."

However, Australian former champion Casey Stoner suggested the increased safety measures were also creating a worrying mindset. "The extra tarmac gives everybody an invincible feeling that they can run-off and come straight back on," he said. "It is ridiculous, riders become too confident and without fear they ride with too much confidence and things like this can happen."