Norick Abe killed in road accident

500cc GP winner dies in Tokyo crash

Norick Abe...killed in road traffic accident

VISORDOWN SOURCES have confirmed 500cc Grand Prix winner, Norick Abe, was killed at the weekend when he struck a lorry making an illegal U-Turn. He was 32 years old.

Abe took his first podium finish in 500cc GP racing in 1995 and his first win a year later. He took regular points finishes over the next two seasons including four podiums. Abe competed in MotoGP for a short time but left in 2004 to take part in the All Japan Superbike series.

A statement from Yamaha Motor Co. regarding Abe's death:

It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of Norifumi (Norick) Abe (32) on October 7, 2007, following a traffic accident. Norick Abe, as he is fondly known by motorcycle race fans around the world, was competing this season in the JSB1000 class of the All-Japan Championships from the "Y'S GEAR Racing" team. Norick was riding a motorcycle in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Pref. when he met with an accident at about 6:20 pm and he was pronounced dead at 8:50 pm at the hospital where he was taken for treatment.

"In 1993, Norifumi Abe became the youngest rider ever to win the pinnacle 500cc class of the All Japan Road Race Championships. The following year he was competing in the All Japan Superbike Championship when he joined the Yamaha camp and started competing in the World GP500cc class. From 1995 he began competing full-time in the World GP500cc class, where he eventually compiled a record of three wins, four 2nd places and 10 3rd places in his GP career. This year he returned to the All Japan Championships and also competed in the Suzuka 8 hours World Endurance Championship race in July. During his career Abe was widely known and loved by the fans as a leading figure in the domestic race scene as well as abroad.

"I am deeply saddened to hear this tragic news," said Yamaha Motor Co. president Takashi Kajikawa. "Loved by fans in Japan, Europe and the Americas and throughout Asia, Norifumi Abe was an irreplaceable ambassador of motor sports worldwide. Here in Japan the fans were especially excited to see Abe return to the All Japan circuit after 14 years of international competition, and certainly their sense of loss at his passing is great. We pray that his soul rests in peace and we send our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones."