MotoGP season opening round in Qatar was overshadowed on Friday by the death of a Tunisian rider who crashed in a support series race. MotoGP organizers said 49 year old Taoufik Gattouchi had died in Doha’s Hamad hospital of injuries sustained in a ‘multi-rider incident’ during the Losail 600 race. The race was stopped after the crash on the 10th of 15 scheduled laps and Gattouchi received medical attention at the side of the track before being flown by air ambulance to the hospital. The Losail 600 Cup is a locally organised club competition made up of four two race events at the Losail International circuit, where the MotoGP race takes place under floodlights, for riders on 600cc bikes.
The MotoGP riders had their second and third official practice sessions at the circuit on Friday, ahead of qualifying on Saturday and Sunday race. The race was a support event for the showpiece, season-opening Qatar MotoGP which takes place on Sunday.
The organizer said in statement:
“It is with great sadness that we have to report the passing of Tunisian rider Taoufik Gattouchi.”
“The race was red-flagged on lap 10 of 15 following a multi-rider incident at Turn 3 and Mr Gattouchi received immediate trackside medical attention.”
“The 49-year-old was immediately transported by air ambulance to the Hamad Hospital in Doha where resuscitation continued. Unfortunately, Mr Gattouchi succumbed to his injuries.”
Tributes poured in for the rider on Facebook, with many of Gattouchi’s friends displaying temporary profile pictures of him that said, “RIP Tawfeeq, will never forget you brother.”
Sad news indeed. Taoufik Gattouchi was killed today in Qatar after a crash in the Losail 600 Cup Race. RIP fellow racer…
— Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS (@TeamEG00MarcVDS) March 18, 2016
Awful to hear of a death in a MotoGP support race in Qatar, RIP Taoufik Gattouchi. Thoughts with the family.
The FIM, Losail Circuit Sports Club, QMMF, Dorna Sports and the entire MotoGP community wishes to pass on its condolences to the family and friends of Mr Gattouchi.