2 Spanish riders die in US Superbike race

Two Spanish racers have been killed in a chain-reaction crash on the first lap of a World Superbike satellite race in California.

The deaths occurred on Sunday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Monterey County sheriff’s spokesman Cmdr John Thornburg said.

MotoAmerica spokesman Paul Carruthers said there were 28 riders in the race and thousands of spectators in the stands when five competitors collided on the first lap. Riders were tossed into the dirt to the side of the track.

The sheriff’s office is not investigating the crash at the MotoAmerica Superbike/Superstock 1000 race, which appeared to be an accident, he said.

The track was dry during the race, Carruthers said.

“If there’s ever an issue with the track, we don’t hold the race,” he said.

Carruthers declined to comment on whether MotoAmerica, which organises the race, will investigate.

MotoAmerica identified the riders killed as 35-year-old Bernat Martinez, 35, of Valencia and Daniel Rivas Fernandez, 27, of Moana Galicia. Both were taken to hospitals, where they died.

Track spokesman David Hart said four other unnamed riders were treated at the track and released.

It was not immediately clear what led to the crash, Hart said, adding Laguna Seca would conduct an investigation.

MotoAmerica president Wayne Rainey sent condolences to the families.

“I really don’t have any words to describe what we all feel,” Rainey said in a statement. “First and foremost is the loss to the families and loved ones.”

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