FIM Radiation Report In: Motegi MotoGP Round To Go Ahead As Planned

The long-awaited report from the FIM is in, containing a preliminary version of the report commissioned to investigate radiation levels at Motegi. As expected, the report finds no danger to health from radiation in and around Motegi, in line with all the other data coming in from Japan on radiation levels around the area, both official and unofficial. And as a consequence, the FIM and Dorna stated that there will be an announcement later this week that the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi will go ahead as scheduled, barring any further serious incidents.

The report from ARPA, an independent Italian agency with expertise on environmental radiation, tested air samples, background radiation, and several food samples from around the Motegi circuit, and found both the air samples and background radiation to be consistent with normal levels, and comparable (actually slightly lower) than in the region around ARPA's offices in Vicenza, Italy. Food and drink samples were also found not to have measurable levels of Cesium contamination (the radioactive particle released by the Fukushima reactor), with the exception being one beef sample from cows in the Miyagi region. But even for that sample, the level found was very low, and well within the permitted level of contamination established by the EU for food coming from Japan.

The report comes to the following conclusion:

Total Dose: < 30μSv

The above mentioned weekly dose is in line with the average world natural sources dose of about 46μSv, obtained by the yearly average dose of 2.4mSv (Unscear 2000). 
Based on the estimate dose it can be said by no doubt that the radiation risk during the race event is negligible

The report makes clear that there is no risk from radiation at Motegi, but there is still some doubt whether this will allay the fears of the riders and the team staff in the paddock. Much of their fear revolves around the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which was very badly damaged by the tsunami which followed the massive earthquake which struck Japan in March. A lack of openness from TEPCO, the plant's owners, and by the Japanese government has left many in the paddock wary of news coming out of Motegi, even when it comes from such an esteemed body as the IAEA. The string of aftershocks - some with a magnitude of 6 or more - which continues to rock the region has added to their fears. Despite the aftershocks, the situation at the plant appears to be stable, with the biggest threat at the moment coming from the highly radioactive water being used to cool the reactors, although concerns persist about the state of the molten fuel rods in three of the reactors.

The FIM statement does still contain a get-out clause, however, if only a rather extreme one. The Motegi MotoGP round will go ahead as scheduled, the report says, "subject to there being no further serious incidents." The interpretation of the word "serious" is likely to be at the heart of a lot of heated debate on the subject.

Below is the statement from the FIM, including links to the documents containing the report on radiation:

Grand Prix of Japan: Statement from the FIM

The FIM and Dorna Sports SL recently commissioned an independent report by a recognised body to investigate the current situation in Japan, in advance of the Grand Prix of Japan at Motegi which is scheduled to take place on 2 October.

This study is intended to complement the information already available from various Governments and the World Health Organisation, which addresses the general situation in Japan following the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that occurred in March. This independent investigation reports specifically on the situation in Motegi and its environs, making it much more relevant to MotoGP participants.

The official detailed report will be delivered later this week, but a preliminary report has already been made available – with an original version in Italian and an English translation provided by the Championship organisers.

ARPA, the agency commissioned for this report, has measured levels of radiation from all sources including the air, environment and food. The final conclusion is that "based on the estimate dose it can be said with no doubt that the radiation risk during the race event is negligible".

Based on this information the FIM and Dorna Sports will announce later this week that, subject to there being no further serious incidents, the Grand Prix of Japan will take place on October 2 as planned.

The preliminary report can be accessed through this link:

Italian version

English version

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This is not a Stoner-Lorenzo & Co thing... ALL the MotoGP riders, other than Aoyama, said they were not going.

Presumably they will now have discussions within the teams and between the riders, to consider their position in the light of this report and directive.

Personally, I'm optimistic that common sense will prevail.

It would be too funny if all the leading drivers would leave Motegi out and Rossi would show up and take 25 points-chrchrchr-only to show the "Pussie´s" how its done:)
But seriously now: I think it was stupid not to go to begin with.

- "A lack of openness from TEPCO, the plant's owners, and by the Japanese government has left many in the paddock wary of news coming out of Motegi ..."

It's not so much the lack of openness as it is the long history of lies and deception with regards to this incident and many others. Heck, it was only a couple of weeks before the accident that TEPCO admitted to skipping safety inspections (again).

That said, this independent report is certainly good news. I had to check up who ARPA was and the little I could find looked legit (not that I know too much about Italian agencies).

I'm hoping that the full report will give details as to the full weather conditions - wind speed and direction in particular. It would be nice to see the air radiation measurements on 'worst-case' days (wind coming from the reactors). The empty data from the best-case days (raining) is kind of pointless, but they're certainly up-front about it.

Hopefully this is enough for Jorge and Casey to reconsider. If they were anything like me at that age, I wouldn't bet my house on it.

I think most will agree that spending 4 days in Motegi does not represent a significant risk. Background levels are sufficiently low, so long as the reactors don't do anything rude! On the other hand, the report does not even begin to address the possibility of further hydrogen explosions or criticality events within the trashed cores, either of which could cause a large scale release of nasties. It is the potential for a significant 'unscheduled event' that I'd worry about. (TEPCO sure as hell isn't going to give you any warning!)

I can't see a Frankie Chilli type win coming up for anyone.
They will all be there or none with the former seeming the most likely to me.
No old RGs to make up the numbers in the 800 era.

Of course there might be another reactor explosion, or even another earthquake that would disrupt the measures already in place. It's also possible that the riders might be served bean sprouts contaminated with a lethal strain of E. Coli. It's sobering to think that soy sprouts killed more people in Germany a couple of months back than died of radiation sickness due to high exposure inside the reactor building at Chernobyl...

Or, a tyre might delaminate at speed, or a gearbox bearing fail at 300km/h.

Or they could simply be shot dead by a loony who wants to save the world from multiculturalism.

Some sense of proportion would be nice.

No matter what the powers that be have to say re the situation in the vicinity of Motegi, I expect that even if the majority decide to go race,Stoner and Lorenzo won't. Given the current championship situation and the projected title chase prospects for the rest of the protagonists this year, Stoner and Lorenzo can pretty much afford to stand firm on the issue. How this will sit with HRC and Yamaha bigwigs remains to be seen. A 'GO' from the rest of the riders and a refusal by Stoner and Lorenzo could result in something worse than radioactive fallout within the factory hierarchies.
I am fully aware of the fact that the majority of the riders are reluctant to go at best,but Casey and George have been very public nay sayers no matter what.
As the title chase is clearly developing into a battle between the pair of them,whether they go to Motegi or not makes their decision easier.
Personally I hope they all go, but if not, I'm not going to judge them.
The funny side of this is that if they don't go and Rossi does, HRC may repay Stoner by giving Rossi a factory Honda next year alongside Dovi within Gresini next year when Rossi exercises his 'bail out' clause from Ducati later this year, as Melandri did back in 2008.
Okay,I'm rumour mongering,but the only thing this season lacks thus far is a'silly season' to rival 2010.

Stoner and Lorenzo only have one logical choice now. They have to get it into their collective heads that this race is happening with or without them, and that they better be prepared to go. They have contracts in place that their employers expect to be honored. If they decide that they're going to break those contracts they should also be prepared for the consequences that will eventually follow!!

Can we please stop talking about this as though Stoner and Lorenzo are the ringleaders in this? They are just the poor suckers who are always at the press conferences and cop the questions about it, so they are the ones making public statements, but all the riders are together on this, with one obvious exception.

Also remember it was Rossi and Lorenzo who got the ball rolling on this in the first place.

also remember there's a whole moto2 and gp125 collective (tons more riders, boffins, etc.) who probably don't want to go either...? but see, nobody's shown them the courtesy of asking THEIR opinion...? as if what they want/don't want for themselves and their families is trivial.

If memory serves me correct 16 riders signed a petition voicing concerns for safety at the track due to radiation, and 2 outright refuse to go to the track. Looking at the points, Lorenzo might want to rethink that idea, dovi winning the race would put him within 8 points of Zo.

Casey and George get it in the neck. Should they all go to Motegi and suffer the consequences years hence and diagnosed,easy. Blame it on George and Casey.
Within the region,suicides are up big time.
Containment at Fukushima can be achieved within months,just in.
3,12,39 months or so, I'm listening.
Switch the venue to Suzuka and to hell with the F1 clash of interests.
Vale, exercise your political clout within the game. Motegi just ain't safe and won't be for years to come.

From the championship point of view whoever wants to be the 2011 champion must race at Motegi. Both Lorenzo and Stoner have been amazingly consistent during the first 10 races. The points awarded at Japan will be crucial for this year champion.

Dorna must work with Japanese aurhorities, medical and nuclear experts to ensure riders, mechanics, journalists and fans are well informed about their safety before and during the race. It has to expand covering airlines, hotels, caterings, restaurants, about the quality of air, food and water available. It would be a bigger problem if the race takes place and something is not disclosed properly or on time. The effort to organize a good GP will be harder.

Riders must reconsider their positions. If they refuse to go they could harm seriously the sport, which by the way is not in great shape with only 17 bikes, with few committed teams and without enough sponsoring or funding.

Teams must listen riders concerns and make sure their are properly addressed and they are well informed. They can not take a decision based on something they watch on TV, but if the proper information is not available for them, who can blame them.

Everybody must prove now if the With you Japan is a real commitment or just another sticker on the bike.

re: "Riders must reconsider their positions. If they refuse to go they could harm seriously the sport"

it's not that deep. it's 1 round of a whopping 18 round series. we'll be just fine with 17. in fact, the riders/teams have complained that in the past (well before fukashima) that 18 rounds was too many.

Taking comments from various times and sources and mashing them together under a headline that is guaranteed to generate clicks.

Nakamoto has in another context last week stated that Stoner and Pedrosa have contracts for next year; Dovizioso in the article states he also had a meeting one-on-one with Nakamoto and he didn't feel that HRC was pressuring him - and he's looking down the barrel of NO contract for next year.

No doubt the factories would like the riders to go - but they'll also be very aware that should health problems occur later they may have liability issues if they force the riders to go. This will all play out over some time and the report is a key piece of information but not necessarily the deal-maker.

Stoner's comments as reported by MCN were made before the latest report was released. And Rossi has said that it would be better if the the race didn't go ahead.

Personally I am disappointed that Stoner and Lorenzo have been so adamant about their positions. More flexibility in their statements would have been a lot smarter. Honda and Yamaha will not take kindly to employees holding a gun to their corporate heads. Losing face is a big deal to the Japanese. Look what happened to a certain ex Honda / ex Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi. And Rossi surely had more political clout than Stoner and Lorenzo when he fell out with Honda and Yamaha.

re: "Honda and Yamaha will not take kindly to employees holding a gun to their corporate heads."

and an employee should rollover when a gun is held to there's...? just because someone or something is an "employer", it doesn't necessarily mean they make smart choices. that's just an accepted myth.

re: "Losing face is a big deal to the Japanese."

superceding this however is ultimately their sense of honor. as the only country to have ever been on the receiving end of not 1? but 2 nuclear weapons? the last thing the japanese or any of these companies will want to be seen as, is an "aggressor". they learned a very hard lesson over pearl harbor (in their control) and are unfortunately learning another tough one regarding fukashima (out of their control).

Nowhere did I say who was right or wrong, what I was trying to say is that Stoner and Lorenzo should have been more diplomatic, as Rossi has been. Then both sides can save face.

If these riders break their contracts who stands to lose the most if the companies play hardball? MotoGP needs the company participation a whole lot more than they need any individual rider. These companies chose not to rehire Rossi, so why would Stoner and Lorenzo be in any better position? I doubt that these companies would sack their riders, but when it comes to contract re-negotiation that might be a whole different story. So I think that these riders have not been smart in the way they have handled this. I say this as an employer in Asia and as someone who has extensive business dealings with Japanese and other Asian companies.

As for honor, I fail to see what WW II has got to do with a nuclear power plant and a MotoGP race in 2011. But it is simply wrong to say that the Japanese have no control of the Fukashima situation. They chose to build a nuclear power plant in an earthquake zone without adequate safety measures. This accident was entirely forseeable. So in this regard it could be that the Japanese companies are sensitive about the Fukishama failure, in which case they might be more inclined to tolerate their riders' actions. But we won't know until such times as the companies make a public statement of their position on the matter. And assuming the riders do choose not to go to Motegi we most likely won't know what the companies really think until rider contract re-negotiation time.

while i'm convinced they won't do it, i CAN see a company making such a blunder regarding an employee on a hot button topic like nuclear radiation. it would be a PR mistake nearly as epic as the disaster itself. once word filtered out beyond the niche world of motorcycling, sympathy will be with the individuals, NOT the company.

re: "If these riders break their contracts who stands to lose the most if the companies play hardball?

again, the companies. honda's brand exposure on car side and countless other sectors means they will be the first to tread carefully.

re: "These companies chose not to rehire Rossi"

more like rossi chose not to resign with them. rossi's a perfect example of how the "cult of personality" rules motogp. "fan worship" here is the same as it is in other forms of sports and entertainment.

re: "They chose to build a nuclear power plant in an earthquake zone without adequate safety measures. "

well i wont kick them while they're down, and i'm sure there were safety violations, but is there anywhere in japan that's NOT an earthquake zone...? it was an unprecedented 100 year type event and it's the pacific rim. nothing man endeavours at is 100% risk free. the only option would be to have never adopted nuclear power in the first place...? which of course just substitutes a whole nother set of problems/risks for those associated with atomic energy. it's a zero-sum game. damned if they do, damned if they don't.

for the factories. It's the only round in Japan, in a series where most of the money is coming from Japan. It's on a track owned by the biggest player in the sport.

it's not that deep. it's 1 round of a whopping 18 round series.

If it was Laguna, or Phillip Is. or Sachsenring that might be true.

What if someone high up at Honda makes the following argument:

"We are paying a huge amount of money to these young men who insult us by refusing to spend 5 days where we spend our lives. They insult us by saying we are too foolish to understand the danger, even though they have no education.

We have learnt everything we need from this competition. We are spending money on technology that has little relevance to the products we sell.

Money is still tight. The American market will be bad for years, we cannot continue to discount their prices as the dollar continues to fall. We need to spend money developing hybrid and electric cars.

We should withdraw from MotoGP"

re: "Money is still tight. The American market will be bad for years, we cannot continue to discount their prices as the dollar continues to fall. We need to spend money developing hybrid and electric cars. We should withdraw from MotoGP"

sure, this could be the "hill" they want to "die on" (no pun intended). reality sucks there's no 2 ways about it. but the risk is STILL not worth more human lives. especially when said "lives" are not their own and belong to somebody else. to that end i encourgage the factories to let their conscience be their guide. if they do that...? i gaurantee they will make the right choice. not just for themselves, but for ALL concerned.

Lets be honest here. I'm not trying to diminish something that these guys are obviously very good at, but ultimately they ride motorcycle around in circles to entertain people. A lot of them get paid very well to do that. If I was to tell my employer that I wasn't coming into work tomorrow, after making complaints about health and safety issues that have now essentially been resolved, they would simply tell me not to bother coming in anymore.

Lorenzo strikes me as a hard head. He'll likely push this until the very end. He's hoping that Stoner remains his ally through all of this. As the cliché goes there are strength in numbers. From what I understand Rossi also gets a lot of respect from the younger riders in the paddock and It's likely the reason why Jorge was trying to get him on side as well. Having to cross the paddock, meet with Vale, and ask him for help couldn't have been easy knowing the relationship between them is strained at best.

Some people also believe that this isn't just a Stoner / Lorenzo thing, but unfortunately that's kind of what it's turned into. They are the only two riders who have officially come forward and stated in public that they're not going. Rossi made statements months ago that it may not be a good idea to go, but later on he also stated that it's probably best to wait until more information surfaced. A lot of riders have signed petitions but from what I understand the petitions are more about riders concerns then about them putting pen to paper and saying we won't go..........

re: "If I was to tell my employer that I wasn't coming into work tomorrow, after making complaints about health and safety issues that have now essentially been resolved, they would simply tell me not to bother coming in anymore."

fine by them, they're rich. that just means more time to lay on the beach in monaco, drive the lamborghini, go see the capt. america movie, take the kids to the zoo, etc... that's all that means.

re: "Lorenzo strikes me as a hard head."

good, it's his life. he gets to be that. it's a reminder to the general public that he is endowed with the same INALIENABLE human rights as any of us.